IMPORTANT: As of July 1st, 2011, functions once performed by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce have been moved to other state agencies and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The former Commerce web site will continue to exist for the next several months as resources are moved to new web site locations. We will make every attempt possible to direct our users to the new locations as web resources are moved.
Companies to Watch Award Winners Announced
For Immediate Release: February 22, 2010
MADISON - Department of Commerce (Commerce) Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel and Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN) State Director Gayle Kugler today announced the winners of the inaugural year of Wisconsin Companies to Watch (CTW). Companies to Watch (CTW) is a distinctive awards program developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace, exhibit innovative products, services or processes, or otherwise make their company "worth watching."
"I'm pleased that we could join the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network in recognizing these dynamic, innovative companies," said Commerce Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel. "I'm confident that we will be watching and benefiting from their achievements in the years to come."
"CTW recognizes companies at the crucial stage of growth where financial potential, concept and management have been established, and attracting talented workers, solid vendor relationships and access to peer learning are key components of future growth," added Gayle Kugler. The Edward Lowe Foundation's studies have shown second-stage companies are the ones who generate jobs and economic growth in their communities.
Class of 2010 Wisconsin CTW award winners are as follows:
Winners will have an opportunity to attend a complimentary three-day Leadership Retreat, hosted by the Edward Lowe Foundation at their Michigan headquarters this summer. The facilitated peer-learning retreat is created specifically for leaders of second-stage growth-oriented companies and gives them the opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of the group. Winners from other state's CTW programs will be invited as well.
The Edward Lowe Foundation recognizes that many second-stage companies fly under the radar of typical awards programs. CTW is specifically designed to seek out businesses from a wide range of industries representing all areas of the state, not just those in major metropolitan areas. In addition to an evaluation on past growth and projected success, applicant companies are judged according to their special strengths. These strengths revolve around innovative products and business practices, special use of technology, work within the community and more.
WEN and Commerce have been host to another Edward Lowe Foundation program since 2005. PeerSpectives, a peer learning roundtable group for entrepreneurs currently has eight tables around Wisconsin, facilitated by the Small Business Development Center network. In addition to the retreat in Michigan, CTW award winners will be invited to join a year-long Wisconsin peer learning group.
About WEN: The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN) was established in June 2005 as a joint venture between the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the University of Wisconsin-Extension's Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Division (DEED). WEN and its partners strive to provide seamless access to the statewide network of entrepreneurial resources and expertise to create new ventures. WEN partners help grow existing businesses and move forward high-potential entrepreneurs to enable Wisconsin to be competitive in a global economic environment. For more information, visit www.wenportal.org.
About the Edward Lowe Foundation: Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through recognition, education and research with a focus on second-stage companies - those that have moved beyond the startup phase and seek significant, steady growth. The foundation also encourages economic gardening, an entrepreneur-centered strategy providing balance to the traditional approach of business recruitment. For more information, visit www.edwardlowe.org.