Discovery to Product 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. We also provide education, mentoring, and funding to help campus innovators get their idea or invention to market.

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

Abram Becker, Life Sciences
Cecily Brose, Food & Nutritional Sciences
David Ertl, Information Technology
Kieran Furlong, Engineering & Physical Sciences
Andy Richards, Director

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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.

Business strategy, operations, founder issues, financial management

Michael Williams, Director

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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.

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

Dave Linz, Client Services Director
Todd Strother, Senior Technology Consultant
Idella Yamben, Business Development Consultant
Margaret Ramey, Outreach Specialist

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It’s not uncommon for innovators to have what’s known as a conflict of interest. This does not imply wrongdoing on anybody’s part. Where a conflict does exist, the COI Committee helps innovators create a plan to transparently manage conflicts that may exist or arise. The COI Committee is a University-wide, faculty governance committee that reviews outside activities by faculty and staff for possible individual financial conflicts of interest with their research and entrepreneurial activities. Faculty representatives from Colleges and Schools comprise the committee membership, while legal counsel, Dean’s representatives, and Office of Research Policy and Integrity staff serve as ex officio members.

University policy, disclosure, outside activities reporting

Brian Fox, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Policy and Integrity
Sam Leinweber, Conflict of Interest Specialist
Stephanie LeRoy, Conflict of Interest Specialist

Visit Conflict of Interest Committee website

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.

Biomanufacturing, therapeutics, medical devices

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

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The Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship 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.

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

John Surdyk, Director

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The 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. The Isthmus Project will mentor project leaders in project management, regulatory and reimbursement issues, and lean startup methodologies specialized for the medical field. The Isthmus Project will also encourage and engage joint projects between UW–Madison and UW Health innovators and medical companies.

Medical innovation, project incubation, commercialization

Thomas “Rockwell” Mackie, Chief Innovation Officer, UW Health
Kurt Zimmerman, Director, Office of Industry Engagement, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

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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.

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

Anne Smith, Director

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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.

Susie Younkle, Program Director

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The Office of Business Engagement 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.

Industry partnerships, sponsored research

Amy Achter, Director

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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.

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

Aaron Olver, Managing Director
Paul Muench, Associate Director

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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.

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

Jon Eckhardt, Faculty Director
Dan Olszewski, Director
John Surdyk, Director of the Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship
Michael Williams, Director of the Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic

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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.

Patents, licensing, intellectual property, technology commercialization

Mike Partsch, Chief Venture Officer
Greg Keenan, Accelerator Program Manager
Jonathan Young, WARF Therapeutics
Stephanie Whitehorse, Intellectual Property Operations
Jeanine Burmania, Licensing Operations
Laura Heisler, Director of Programming

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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.

Startups, business planning, financial planning, human resources

Michelle Somes-Booher, Director

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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.

Businesss consulting, startups, entrepreneurial education

Christopher Konop, Executive Director

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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.

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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.

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