As part of the Initiative 41 effort, a Regional Economic Collaboration Charrette aimed at creating a more cohesive economic development ecosystem throughout the region was held. The purpose was to emphasize communication, coordination and regional collaboration among its numerous stakeholders and to establish relationships built on the understanding that what’s beneficial for one area of the region is beneficial for all in the region. Through the charrette process a collaborative action plan, which included an industry diversification strategy, was developed and is now being implemented to achieve regional collaboration.
As a result of this effort, some key initiatives are being developed in the area’s aviation industry, including:
Business Accelerator and Growth Management Programs, targeting start-up companies, and first- and second-stage entrepreneurs, was also developed to enhance the business and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, three business accelerator programs were developed:
These programs work with entrepreneurs to develop strategic and operational plans and provide support to help them achieve their goals.
This effort resulted in 12 graduates from the programs, including three from GMA, four from InventureXcel and five from AeroInnovate. All AeroInnovate companies are planning to or have impacted the Wisconsin economy by relocating or hiring Wisconsin companies.
A Defense Industry Supply Chain (DISC) map was completed by New North highlighting the regional connectivity of this industry. In addition, a web-based directory (www.wisupplychainmarketplace.com) of regional defense contractors, businesses, and suppliers was developed to assist with diversification of their supplier base and to align defense suppliers with additional opportunities, particularly within the aerospace/aeronautics industry.
Another accomplishment was Wisconsin Manufacturer Extension Partnership (WMEP) providing Direct Supplier Assistance to 31 defense industry suppliers (both public and private). This included conducting, scheduling and delivering Diagnostic, Change Readiness Assessments and/or completing Gap analysis. This assistance helped these suppliers become more efficient, effective and competitive.
Initiative 41 is also conducting outreach to elected, community and business leaders throughout the region to highlight the importance of regionalism and collaborative relationships to realign strategies identified during the charrette process. A variety of communication strategies are being used including a speaker’s bureau, video highlighting key aspects of the effort and print collateral. The goal of this effort is to increase awareness of the need for collaboration and highlighting the many benefits it can provide the region.