When we put "Our Region" on our agenda back in January we were focused primarily on the success of Advance Now, the regional economic development plan to which we have hitched our global economic competition wagon.
That focus remains very important. But in the last nine months Thrive became MadREP, and while Advance Now is still the strategic plan on the table it has been joined by a new, exciting initiative on the tech start-up side of things with a placed-based vision for the East Washington Avenue corridor.
Called Starting Block, this combination open space, maker space, sustainability sector, innovation center is a laboratory for entrepreneurship that will complement existing entities like the UW Research Park, Metro Innovation Center, American Family DreamBank and others as magnets for smart people with creative ideas.
There’s a growing eco-system of support from the Greater Madison business community and an interest in collaboration with Janesville, Milwaukee, Chicago and elsewhere that holds exciting possibilities for the future.