Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
December 2005
Christenson Wins Innovation Champion
Award at UW-Whitewater

Pam Christenson, director of the Bureau of Entrepreneurship at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, received one of the first Wisconsin Innovation Champion Awards for her leadership in creating the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network. Announced by the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the awards are given to individuals leading new initiatives in the public or non-profit sectors that have made significant contributions to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.

Pam Christenson, director of the Bureau of Entrepreneurship
Pam Christenson, director of the Bureau of Entrepreneurship

Other 2005 winners include: Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council for spearheading the Governor's Business Plan Contest and the annual Entrepreneurs' Conference; Erica Kauten, state Small Business Development Center director, also for leadership in creating the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network, and the following individuals for starting area innovators/entrepreneurs groups: Kevin Jones, director of the UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center, Chippewa Valley Entrepreneurs Network; Terry Whipple, Juneau County economic development director, Juneau County Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club; Karna Hanna, Sauk County economic development director, and Nancy Elsing, Columbia County economic development director, Sauk/Columbia Inventors Club; Tobey Andropolis, president of Andropolis Painting, Wisconsin Inventors Network of Appleton, and Dennis Heling, Jefferson County economic development director, Jefferson County Inventors and Entrepreneurs Connection.

"Each of these individuals has created opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs in the state to move their ideas forward," according to Debra Malewicki, director of the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center at UW-Whitewater. "Many of these opportunities involve creating visibility for entrepreneurs and creating venues for them to network for resources and support. Both are important elements of an entrepreneurial climate, and entrepreneurs are critical engines for economic growth."

The awards were presented during breakfast on Nov. 5 at the conference, "Ideas to Profits: Embracing Failure as a Milestone to Success" at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The conference targeted innovative manufacturers, technology entrepreneurs, and independent inventors looking to commercialize new products.  The event featured 19 workshops addressing how to assess the market for new products, creating competitive advantages with the right intellectual property protection, effectively pricing new products, locating federal innovation funding, targeting potential partners, and understanding commercialization options. 

This year's conference once again featured a special track for manufacturers interested in effective new product development. Several private companies funded scholarships for students interested in new product development or entrepreneurship who attended the conference.

-- Deb Malewicki

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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