Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
April 2007
State Certified Minority Business Enterprise, Falhgreen Solutions Advances in Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest - Wins lucrative federal bid

Fahlgreen Solutions, LLC, based in Montello, has advanced to the second round of the 4th annual Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest. The semifinalists are now submitting their summary business plans which will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council. The judging of Phase 2 is expected to be completed by mid-April.

Fahlgreen's second-round entry will be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Wisconsin Angel Network (WAN), which has 23 member angel networks, private equity funds or corporate strategic partners. Fahlgreen Solutions hopes to move forward into Phase 3 of the contest, in which contestants will write a full business plan. To date, more than $160,000 in cash and in-kind prizes have been pledged for the 2007 competition. First prize will be worth at least $50,000 in cash and services. Winners will be announced June 12-13 at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee.

"We are just putting finishing polishes on the full plan," said Susanne Kufahl, CEO and President of Fahlgreen Solutions, LLC. "We are a leader in biometric identification technologies and systems. Our company is uniquely positioned with a comprehensive line of biometric identification products called emaChecks™ (Entirely Mobile Applicant Checks). My product has revolutionized state and federal fingerprint background checks because of its mobility and unified approach, and I'm very confident we will advance to the next round," added Kufahl.

In 2006, Fahlgreen Solutions, LLC obtained MBE certification through the Bureau of Minority Business Development, with staff located in Milwaukee and Tomah. The bureau provides technical assistance, state minority business enterprise certification, and gap financing to Wisconsin minority business enterprises (MBEs) and the tribes.

On March 15, 2007 Fahlgreen Solutions announced it has won a Federal Bureau of Investigation clearinghouse bid to provide electronic fingerprint processing through the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Fahlgreen won the bid after the FBI's extensive review of applications from a number of pre-screened candidates. The bid award allows Fahlgreen Solutions to process background checks directly with the Federal agency. "I cannot stress how important this decision is to our company and our products," said Susanne Kufahl, "It really gives our company and our solution a federal stamp of approval."

In addition to emaChecks™, Fahlgreen Solutions also provides a product designed specifically for state law enforcement called emaCIIS™. Securing the Federal bid will now allow Fahlgreen Solutions to offer clearinghouse to clearinghouse services under the name emaClear™. "It has always been our focus to provide simple, complete solutions," explained Rachael Krueger, product manager, "Running criminal backgrounds checks has been a burden for businesses. They often require multiple vendors, additional staff, complex hardware and specialized network connection. emaChecks™ changed all of that. Our products are turn-key. Everything you need to process background checks is included; there is no need to obtain new network connections, outside vendors or additional support people. We strive to make things easy and cost effective for our customers."

Kufahl began working with Bill Wheeler, Executive Director of Tri-County Regional Economic Development Corporation, who pulled Commerce Area Development Manager Deb Clements into the loop. Clements in turn contacted the Bureau of Minority Business Development for specialized minority business assistance. All are members of the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Network (WEN), a seamless entrepreneurial support system born out of Wisconsin Act 255. WEN's mission is to help spawn new ventures and grow existing businesses by creating access to entrepreneurial resources from across Wisconsin. Working collaboratively, the team brainstormed to set a capacity building strategy in place with the goal of commercializing Kufahl's technology.

"It has been very gratifying to see the progress Fahlgreen Solutions has made in this market niche. Our bureau strives to support our MBEs and see them advance in the marketplace. Susanne has a unique gift—she is able to look at the current situation, identify a need, and provide a cost effective solution," said Seyoum Mengesha, Area Development Manager covering minority businesses.

To learn more about the WEN, go to www.wenportal.org.

For a complete list of the 2007 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest, go to www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com.

To access assistance from the Bureau of Minority Business Development, email us at MBD@wisconsin.gov.

-- Mary Perry

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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