The Innovate Network

Graphic that says: Innovate Network, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Innovate Network is coordinated by Discovery to Product and consists of a group of campus-based and affiliated member organizations that work collaboratively to achieve two common goals: Fostering a stronger culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on the UW–Madison campus, and strengthening the connection between campus and the entrepreneurial support network in the greater Madison community.

About the Innovate Website

Discovery to Product (D2P)

Discovery to Product (D2P) is the front door to UW–Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, coordinating the Innovate Network to connect faculty, staff, and students with the right resources at the right time. D2P also provides education, mentoring, and funding to help campus innovators get their idea or invention to market. D2P serves campus innovators, and can provide community entrepreneurs with referrals to available campus services.

Product development, commercial strategy, business development, market segmentation, life sciences, food & nutritional sciences, information technology, engineering & physical sciences

Amar Anumakonda, PhD, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Aimee Arnoldussen, PhD, Life Sciences
Abram Becker, Interim Director; Health, Information and Life Science Technology
Cecily Brose, Agriculture, Food Sciences, and Consumer Products

Visit D2P website

Badger Bridge

Brought to you by the Wisconsin Alumni Association® (WAA), Badger Bridge provides an online platform for networking with Badgers in your field, at leading organizations, and in communities around the world. Badger Bridge helps connect UW–Madison alumni to each other, to their alma mater, and to entrepreneurs and inventors on campus. Badger Bridge is for UW–Madison alumni, students, faculty and staff.

Visit Badger Bridge website

Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Founded in 2013, the Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic is housed within the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at the School of Business. It provides free business advice and services to nascent entrepreneurs and early stage companies through the work of MBA students and senior level undergraduates supervised by faculty.  The Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic serves UW–Madison faculty, staff, postdocs, students and Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs.

Business strategy, operations, founder issues, financial management

Michael Williams, Director


School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences (CDIS)

The School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences (CDIS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison brings together the departments of Computer Sciences, Statistics, and the Information School. The School is motivated by the Wisconsin Idea, which inspires in us the notion that research, education, and outreach from computer, data, and information scientists on campus is critical for the future of the university, state, and beyond. Computing and data have become pervasive in all aspects of our society. Competencies with information technology and computational data analyses are rapidly becoming skills that are as necessary as reading, writing, and arithmetic – both for economic advancement, but also for full engagement in civil life and democratic participation. The school seeks to extend these skills by attracting a broader array of students to engage with computing, data and information science. CDIS also partners with the Wisconsin School of Business on the Creative Destruction Lab-Wisconsin program. CDIS programs serve UW–Madison faculty, staff, post-docs, students, and companies and organizations interested in connecting with CDIS.

Technology, Research, Computing, Data science, Information science

Tom Erickson, Founding Director
Justin Hines, Director of Corporate Relations

Visit CDIS website

Center for Technology Commercialization

Created in 2005, the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) is a part of the UW System Administration Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. CTC provides one-on-one assistance to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin. Center consultants have over 60 years of combined experience and have collaborated in acquiring over $100 million in federal and other funding for their clients. CTC serves Wisconsin researchers, technologists, innovators and early-stage emerging technology businesses.

Small business innovation research and technology transfer funding, technology commercialization, startups

Margaret Ramey, Director
Todd Strother, Senior Technology Consultant
Rob Baranowski, Technology Consultant

Visit Center for Technology Commercialization website

Forward BIO Initiative

The Forward BIO Initiative is a collaborative effort that offers comprehensive support of technological innovation and workforce development to effectively translate discoveries into commercial products and groundbreaking therapies in the emerging area of biomanufacturing, the advanced manufacturing of therapeutic medical devices, cells, tissues, or pharmaceuticals. The Forward BIO Institute is based at UW–Madison and serves campus innovators and industry partners. Forward BIOLABS is a co-working life sciences lab for campus and community biotech startups. BioForward Wisconsin is a private non-profit organization that supports Wisconsin’s biohealth industry.

Biomanufacturing, therapeutics, medical devices

Bill Murphy, Director, Forward BIO Institute
Jessica Martin-Eckerly, Co-Founder, CEO of Forward BIOLABS
Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward Wisconsin

Visit Forward BIO Institute website

The Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship (INSITE)

The Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship (INSITE) is a UW–Madison “cluster” launched in 1998 to help develop a community of faculty across campus researching and teaching aspects of entrepreneurial practice and innovation in high-technology and other settings. INSITE champions experiential entrepreneurship education through its delivery of several competitions on campus and its leadership of the StartUp residential learning community.  INSITE serves UW–Madison students and faculty.

Startups, social science research, curriculum design, learning communities, competitions

John Surdyk, Director

Visit INSITE website

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR)

The University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) is a partnership among the University of Wisconsin Health Science Schools (Medicine & Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy & Veterinary Medicine), the UW College of Engineering, and Marshfield Clinic in Northern Wisconsin. This cross-institutional network of diverse academic disciplines is reflected in our research infrastructure in support of multi-disciplinary, translational research. Funded by both the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award Program (CTSA) and the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the ICTR mission is to improve the health of all in Wisconsin. ICTR is expanding cross-university and academic partnerships to increase the impact of translational teams, increase the use of evidence-based research in clinical practice, and increase how research findings and best practices are adopted in community settings. ICTR serves UW–Madison faculty, staff, postdocs, and students.

Clinical research, health systems partnerships, therapeutics development, commercial strategy, project management, and intellectual property

Allan Brasier, Executive Director
Beth Burnside, Deputy Executive Director
Kim Linsenmayer, Administrative Director
Jane Mahoney, Dissemination and Implementation Science
Betsy Nugent, Clinical Research

Visit ICTR website

Isthmus Project

Isthmus Project is a medical business and innovation accelerator established in 2018 as a partnership between UW Health and the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Its goal is to provide a front door for health system innovators— whether they be faculty physicians, researchers, pharmacists, residents, nurses, staff or others— to seek business and technical risk-reduction support for their creative ideas and projects. The Project works with innovators that aim to achieve better health outcomes or to solve problems facing UW Health patients, providers and the health system, with a focus on projects that are scalable to create value beyond UW Health and UW–Madison. Isthmus Project will mentor project leaders in project management, regulatory and reimbursement issues, and lean startup methodologies specialized for the medical field. Isthmus Project will also encourage and engage joint projects between UW–Madison and UW Health innovators and medical companies. The Isthmus Project serves UW–Madison and UW Health innovators.

Medical innovation, project incubation, commercialization

Elizabeth Hagerman, Executive Director

Visit Isthmus Project website

Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Housed within the Law School, the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic provides free legal services to nascent entrepreneurs and early stage companies through the work of law students supervised by faculty and private sector attorneys.  The Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic serves early stage entrepreneurs from across Wisconsin including the UW–Madison campus.

Tax and corporate law, trademark law, patent law, intellectual property, securities

Emily Buchholz, Director

Visit Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic website

Merlin Mentors

The Madison Entrepreneur Resource, Learning and Innovation Network (MERLIN) is comprised of experienced business leaders who volunteer their time, knowledge and experience to help convert entrepreneurs’ ideas into developing companies. Developed with the support and cooperation of various entities related to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the overall objective of MERLIN is to create a larger pool of viable entrepreneurs within the Madison community by facilitating connections between entrepreneurs and mentors. MERLIN strengthens UW–Madison’s role as a leader in innovation by contributing to the education of UW students, faculty and alumni.  MERLIN serves entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in South Central Wisconsin (UW–Madison affiliation is not required).

Susie Younkle, Program Director

Visit MERLIN Mentors website

Office of Business Engagement

The Office of Business Engagement (OBE) is the front door for industry at UW–Madison. It connects business and industry with the resources they need to advance their businesses, facilitating seamless access across the UW–Madison community. OBE serves companies and organizations looking to access, engage with or invest in the university, and UW–Madison faculty, staff, and researchers wanting to engage with outside organizations for project or department/center support.

Industry partnerships, sponsored research

John Garnetti, Director

Visit Office of Business Engagement website

Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO)

The Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO) offers comprehensive support to campus innovators in deep tech, helping them transform their research into successful businesses through a range of resources. Through our accelerators, such as the (NSF) I-Corps, innovators complete the customer discovery process, bridging the gap from emerging technology to marketable product. Through our workshops and coaching opportunities they help researchers from faculty, students, postdocs, and staff develop an entrepreneurial mindset and acquire professional skills for their startup journey. The TEO operates with the College of Engineering, the School of Computer, Data, and Information Science and the College of Letters and Science.

NSF I-Corps Programs, technology commercialization

Bonnie Bachman, TEO Director

Visit Technology Entrepreneurship Office website


Transcend UW

Transcend UW is a student-led organization for all students interested in creating their own ventures. While formally housed in the College of Engineering, Transcend welcomes membership from creative, entrepreneurial, or just plain curious students from any background. Events encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between majors and connect students to the vast network of alumni and professionals from the Madison area and beyond. Transcend hosts the country’s largest student-run innovation competition each spring.  Transcend UW serves UW–Madison students.

Visit Transcend UW website

University Research Park

Established in 1984, University Research Park, a UW–Madison nonprofit affiliate, is an internationally recognized research and technology park that provides working space and support to early-stage and growth-oriented businesses in a range of sectors, including engineering, software, and life sciences. University Research Park is creating a neighborhood of ideas, entrepreneurship, and opportunity with its cutting-edge facilities and strong ties to the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, City of Madison, and State of Wisconsin.  University Research Park serves companies, startups, and entrepreneurs in science, technology, research, and education and at all stages.

Office space, lab space, co-working, incubator facility

Aaron Olver, Managing Director
Paul Muench, Associate Director

Visit University Research Park website

Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship

Founded in 1986, the Weinert Center at the Wisconsin School of Business is dedicated to teaching, research, and service pertaining to entrepreneurial management and enterprise development. The mission of the Weinert Center is to improve society and the lives of our students through a portfolio of teaching, research, and service activities. The Weinert Center serves UW–Madison undergraduate and graduate students, and Weinert Center program alumni entrepreneurs.

Research and instruction on entrepreneurship, financial planning, and startup formation

Martin Ganco, Faculty Director
Phil Greenwood, Senior Lecturer
Dan Olszewski, Director
John Surdyk, Director of the Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship
Michael Williams, Director of the Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Visit Weinert Center website

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is a key partner in helping steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for UW–Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 1,900 patents and an investment portfolio of $2.7 billion as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry.  WARF assists UW–Madison faculty, staff, postdocs and students in  moving ideas, innovations, and discoveries to the marketplace. WARF assists industry and venture partners including entrepreneurs and companies seeking to license IP and technology. The WARF UpStart program serves Madison-area women and people of color who are aspiring entrepreneurs.

Patents, licensing, intellectual property, technology commercialization

Mike Partsch, Chief Venture Officer
Greg Keenan, Senior Director, Ventures & Accelerator
Katie Rice, Venture Associate, Talent Recruitment and Community Management
Jonathan Young, Head of WARF Therapeutics
Stephanie Whitehorse, Director of IP, Physical Sciences
Jeanine Burmania, Senior Director, IP and Licensing

Visit WARF website

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is part of a statewide network of SBDC’s working with entrepreneurs and business owners to help from start-up through growth. Through no-cost consulting and low-cost entrepreneurial education, SBDC experts serve as resources for small and emerging mid-size companies. The Wisconsin SBDC at UW–Madison is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBDC assists Wisconsin entrepreneurs (pre- and post-launch stages), small businesses, and emerging/aspiring business leaders. UW–Madison affiliation is welcome but not required.

Startups, business planning, financial planning, human resources

Michelle Somes-Booher, Director

Visit SBDC website


WiSolve provides data-driven business solutions for Wisconsin innovators and businesses while training its UW graduate student and postdoc members as science and technology consultants by offering hands-on experiences with clients, workshops to broaden entrepreneurial skills, and access to a community of likeminded startups.  WiSolve serves local companies and innovators from idea stage to large corporations.

Businesss consulting, startups, entrepreneurial education

Samridhi Garg, President

Visit WiSolve website