How others view Wisconsin matters in a global economy

By Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council

Wisconsin_welcome_sign_webIf you think you’re having trouble making sense of this year’s presidential election, imagine being a visitor to the United States this fall.

About three-dozen people from Germany – members of the federal parliament, business leaders, academics and a few journalists – received a short but intensive course in American politics last week in a tour that passed through Wisconsin.

By the time they reached the end of their journey Thursday, the group had heard enough about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They wanted to talk about why companies should set up shop in Wisconsin versus the East or West coasts.

It was a discussion that touched on some of the state’s strengths, as well as a few of its enduring challenges.

The group visited as part of a program sponsored by The Congressional Study Group and Atlantik-Brucke e.V., a German association that promotes trans-Atlantic relations. Former U.S. Rep. Tim Petri, R-Wis., was the study tour host on the American side.

At University Research Park in Madison, the group heard from executives from four tech-based companies on why those firms decided to put down roots and grow in Wisconsin. For some of the German visitors, it was a surprise to learn that companies with international reach can launch and grow in the nation’s heartland.

The conversation touched on differences and similarities between the German and U.S. financing systems for early stage companies; a comparison of entrepreneurial cultures; examples of how companies attract and retain workers; and the role of academic institutions and state government in creating a business climate that supports innovation. Read more …

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