The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in partnership with The Water Council, announced today that four freshwater technology startups have been selected to participate in a first-of-its-kind Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator Program. The companies include Microbe Detectives (Madison), Vegetal i.D. (France), H2O Score (Milwaukee) and Noah Technologies (Port Washington).
The six-month accelerator program, scheduled to begin on September 2, provides each company with space in the Global Water Center located in Milwaukee, as well a $50,000 grant from WEDC to cover startup costs. Recipients will also have access to business model and operations training through the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s (UWW) Institute for Water Business, access to faculty and students with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s (UWM) School of Freshwater Sciences, mentorship from local water technology experts, and access to investment capital funding sources.
“This accelerator program creates an entirely new pathway for emerging water tech companies to secure the critical resources needed to reach proof-of concept and commercialization of advanced technologies,” said Gov. Scott Walker.
“This collaboration brings these companies with important water technology advances in the world to further development their innovation here in Wisconsin,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This collaborative investment will further demonstrate Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s reputation as a global center of excellence for water-related research and innovation development.”
The Institute for Water Business at UWW will play a major role in developing capacity in water business through education, research, and strategic collaboration. It will serve as an open space – real and virtual – for engaging, educating and empowering stakeholders to identify and successfully respond to regional, national and international water business issues, challenges, and opportunities.
“UW-Whitewater’s partnership with the Water Council’s Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator Program represents the next step in our commitment to growing Southeastern Wisconsin’s legacy as a water business innovator,” said Linda Reid, Director, Institute for Water Business at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. “This program inspires and prepares students to be world-class leaders in water entrepreneurship and technology, fosters interaction with successful role models, and facilitates supporting faculty research.”
Applications for the accelerator program were reviewed by The Water Council and a global panel of water technology professionals, investors and entrepreneur exports to assess various criteria, including the applicants’ potential for commercialization, compatibility with existing companies, and long-term interest in growing Milwaukee’s position as a leader in freshwater technology.
“Central to being a global water technology leader is to not only have world renowned businesses and universities but also having an innovative program that encourages and supports enterprising entrepreneurs such as the ones that are part of the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator,” stated Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “Working closely with our partners, we are embarking on an unparalleled program that will serve as another important milestone for Milwaukee and Wisconsin as we grow our water technology cluster.”
Startups will have access to pilot sites with UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences and Milwaukee’s sewage and water operations, plus the ability to work with international water technology leaders at the center, including A. O. Smith, Badger Meter, Grundfos Pumps, Sloan Valve and Veolia Water.