New Video Touts Wisconsin As “A Great Place to Get Started”


WMC Foundation and Future Wisconsin Project Partners Unveil a New Video Aimed at Startups, Millennial Workers

MADISON – Wisconsin has a workforce problem that is compounded by an image problem. According to a 2015 national perception survey, America’s Dairyland is viewed as just that. People from across the country believe agricultural-related jobs are most plentiful in the state, but they view Wisconsin as lacking job opportunities in general.

Other negative views of Wisconsin – cold weather, for example – are harming its ability to attract and retain workers, especially young people. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is one of only a few states that has more baby boomers living in it than millennials. As the workforce gets older, the younger generation is not large enough to fill the jobs that will be available.

In collaboration with its partners, WMC Foundation has produced the video: Wisconsin – A Great Place to Get Started. This video focuses on Wisconsin’s reality, not its perception. While many startups and millennials look to Boston, Seattle and Silicon Valley, Wisconsin can offer the same – if not better – experiences at more affordable prices.

“Wisconsin is a great place to live, work and play,” said WMC President/CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “However, Wisconsin cannot grow and prosper the way we need to if the state continues to be the best kept secret in the Midwest. This video demonstrates that Wisconsin is a great place to get started – we just need people to know about it.”

About the Video

Featured in the video is gener8tor, a nationally-ranked startup accelerator based in Madison and Milwaukee. The company works twice a year with the best startups in the country, and puts them through an intense three-month bootcamp in the state. That program connects the startups with mentors, potential customers and corporate partners, as well as potential investors.

“We are in Wisconsin because we are from Wisconsin,” said gener8tor Co-Founder Troy Vosseller. “We want to invite more startups to come see all that this state has to offer. Wisconsin is a great place to start and grow a business, and now more than ever, it is a tremendous place for younger people to thrive both at work and in life.”

One of the startups that gener8tor has worked with is Milwaukee-based Bright Cellars, which is also featured in the new video. Bright Cellars is a personalized monthly wine subscription service that matches its members with wine they would enjoy. Founded in Boston, Bright Cellars made the easy decision to re-locate to Milwaukee after participating in the gener8tor bootcamp.

“To be honest, when we first heard about the gener8tor program in Wisconsin, we had to look at a map and say ‘that’s where we could be for three months.’ But once we went through the program, we realized there was capital available and a great startup community in Wisconsin,” said Bright Cellars CEO/Co-Founder Richard Yau. “It was a very easy decision to move our business to Milwaukee because of all the incredible opportunities available in the state. We couldn’t be happier to call Wisconsin home.”

Since moving to Wisconsin, Bright Cellars has seen about 14 percent growth month-over-month and has grown from three employees to 25.

The video was produced as a part of the Future Wisconsin Project – a partnership between the WMC Foundation, UW System, Wisconsin Technical College System, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Department of Workforce Development, Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin Economic Develop Corporation. The project is a 20-year economic planning initiative to ensure Wisconsin is ready to tackle the challenges it will face in the coming decades.

WMC Foundation previewed the video at its Future Wisconsin Summit in December, and the full ten-minute video is now available on the WMC website.

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If you would like to discuss the Future Wisconsin Project, Wisconsin’s image or the video in more detail, please contact Nick Novak at 608.258.3400.

Representatives from WMC, gener8tor and Bright Cellars are available for interviews upon request.