Could Madison become a hub for business innovation?

Chamber of Commerce president wants to change perception of city
Could Madison become a hub for business innovation?

Ask anyone what Madison is known for, and it’s likely they’ll say the UW, the lakes, the Capitol, the Badgers.

But what about businesses?

Local leaders think the city — the entire region — could take it to another level and become a center of innovation, but only if people here start to realize the economic potential in their midst.

Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon hopes to remedy that.

“I believe Madison is an underachieving city and there are people that sorta bristle when I say that, Madison protectionists,” said Brandon. “How is that possible? We have low unemployment, we have high quality of life.”

Brandon sees a city too content with what it is to see what it could become.

“I think Madison has a chance to change its perception, of not just being a creative town, but being an innovative town and starting to sell itself as a place where innovation happens,” said Brandon.

There are plenty of examples, from Shoutlet to Google. Zendesk to Epic Systems. There’s a reason they’re here.

“And if Google says you have some of the best talent in the country, we should believe that,” said Brandon.

“Madison has all the ingredients for an amazing ecosystem for startups,” said entrepreneur Liz Eversoll.

Eversoll should know. She has started and sold a successful business before — she knows what it takes to get one up and running.

Her latest technology connects her clients with their customers, turning them into “smart locations,” with sensors reaching out to smartphones.

With mostly homegrown talent and investment capital Eversoll agrees it’s time to spread the word..

“We need to really create awareness and PR of the great talent and the great products that we have here,” said Eversoll.

Brandon also has a vision for the future.

“There’s such an opportunity for us, that a decade from now, people will say when you ask them about Madison…they’re gonna say that’s where x happens, and hopefully they’re gonna say innovation,” said Brandon.