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U Wisconsin System Launches Commercialization Seed Fund

The University of Wisconsin (UW) System has created a seed fund that will help commercialize ideas and technology developed at UW campuses.

Dubbed Ideadvance, the fund is the result of a partnership between the UW System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and will be administered by the UW-Extension.

"Faculty, staff and students need access to this type of funding so that they can pursue their business dreams here in Wisconsin," said Governor Scott Walker, in a prepared statement. "This new partnership bridges the gap from an idea to the creation of a business and initial investment."

"The Ideadvance Seed Fund provides up to $75,000 in two stages to support entrepreneurs as they evaluate product or service ideas, explore key markets, validate demand and develop strategies for investment sources," according to a UW System news release. "Unlike most early stage funding, the Ideadvance Seed Fund encourages ideas from all disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences and liberal arts."

Grant recipients will be eligible for up to $25,000 as they determine the marketability of their idea or technology. Those who meet "commercialization milestones," according to a report in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, will be eligible for an additional $50,000 to develop a business model.

A five-person committee, composed of individuals from the UW System and private enterprise, will evaluate applications, which will be accepted in three rounds set for March, May and November.

"Our University of Wisconsin labs and classrooms generate ideas ripe for commercialization, so we're pleased to partner with the state's lead economic development agency to support entrepreneurs on our campuses throughout the state," said Ray Cross, UW System president, in a prepared statement.

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About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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