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Ideadvance Seed Fund opens 13th round of funding with renewed enthusiasm in funding established Wisconsin businesses

Ideadvance Seed Fund encourages small businesses looking to solve problems in new ways and diversify into new markets to apply by July 21, 2022.

This 13th round of money and mentorship for Wisconsin-based businesses now includes expanded eligibility and tracks for established small businesses with innovative approaches.

The Ideadvance program fosters teams to advance a scalable, profitable business model. Grant dollars are earned after demonstrating key learnings toward commercialization goals. Awardees are supported by a teaching team, mentors and the program manager as they work through the Ideadvance Lean Startup program.

If you want to see the innovative businesses who have been there before, check out last year’s awardees news release.

Ideadvance applicants must have a team member associated with any UW System institution, including UW-Madison, to compete in this grant program.

“Last year’s expanded eligibility and new Stage 1 tracks allowed businesses diverse in business stage, idea and ownership across Wisconsin to connect to the Ideadvance Seed Fund,” said New Idea Concierge Idella Yamben. “This cohort we are hoping to attract more existing businesses wanting to explore high risk technology & product commercialization through our Partnered Innovation track. Fostering these partnerships in Wisconsin is incredibly important to expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Last year’s awards went to a range of ideas, edutech games for literacy and cultural diversity to SAAS to improve website privacy compliance to VR and AR technology with applications to cardiology and orthopedic surgery.

The deadline to apply is July 21. Diverse teams from all parts of Wisconsin are invited to connect early with New Idea Concierge Idella Yamben or Brian Walsh ( or 608-263-3315) to take advantage of resources that can guide them through the application process. Introductory videos are also available.

Ideadvance, launched in 2014, has awarded grants to 82 distinct awardees, totaling $2.8 million in funding disbursements.

There are two Stage 1 tracks,

  1. Small Business Innovation Track ($15,000): Applicants are early stage, likely startup, with at least two dedicated full-time or part-time employees. These awardees are likely to pursue follow-on funding through revenue, angels or venture capital funding, and therefore focus Lean Startup learning objectives toward a sales launch with pilot customers and consider debt financing and/or equity financing.
  2. Partnered Innovation Track ($25,000): Applicants may be established businesses or startups with no more than 50 employees and appropriate annual receipt size exclusions. Awardees should be actively engaged with or expect to require partner expertise toward commercialization of an innovative process or technology. Lean Startup learning objectives focus toward a pilot, partner agreement or engagement for competitive grant/contract, debt and/or equity financing.

Stage 2, with follow-on funding up to $30,000, helps a select few to advance their business models to deliver customer solutions and attract investors.

“Wisconsin businesses excel at innovation. So does the University of Wisconsin System,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). “Ideadvance is an exciting way to bring these groups of innovators together in the best tradition of the Wisconsin Idea. It provides an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to gain the knowledge base they need to bring their ideas to market while offering businesses new insights into the research and training that’s being done throughout the University of Wisconsin System. We’re pleased that WEDC can be part of this important program.”

To apply, go to wisconsinctc.org/ideadvance.

About The Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization is a program unit at the University of Wisconsin System’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship.  CTC is Wisconsin’s no-cost resource to guide you through the complex and exciting journey of bringing your technology from idea to market. The journeyincludes helping you connect to funding and guidance from experienced business leaders. Learn more at www.wisconsinctc.org; follow @WisconsinCTC on Twitter.

About The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

WEDC leads economic development efforts for the state by providing resources, operational support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. Working with more than 600 partners across the state, including regional economic development organizations, academic institutions and industry clusters, WEDC develops and delivers solutions that help businesses, communities and people maximize their potential In Wisconsin. Learn more at www.wedc.org; follow @WEDCNews on Twitter.

Ideadvance Seed Fund attracts increased focus on Partnered Innovation

Up to $280,000 in grants will be made available to 13 companies diverse in business stage, idea and ownership in the latest round of awards by the Ideadvance Seed Fund.