Driving Innovation in Green Bay, Wisconsin

November 20, 2017

By: John Karras, senior consultant, TIP Strategies

Downtown Green Bay CityDeck along the Fox RiverDowntown Green Bay CityDeck along the Fox River by Chris Rand via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Just a few short months after the Greater Green Bay Chamber unveiled its new Economic Development Strategic Plan [PDF], the community announced a major stride toward meeting one of its goals: building a robust ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship. In October 2017, the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft announced the launch of TitletownTech, a one-of-a-kind partnership aimed at spurring entrepreneurship and economic development in the Greater Green Bay region. The new collaboration is focused on three initiatives:

  1. TitletownTech Accelerator, a program that provides resources, advisors, and mentors for young companies to develop and market new digital technology products and services.
  2. TitletownTech Venture Capital Fund, an investment fund jointly financed by the Packers and Microsoft.
  3. TitletownTech Labs, an 18-week lab that connects established firms with Microsoft’s global resources for the purposes of technology development.

Each of these initiatives will be housed in a new TitletownTech building located in the Titletown District. The district, a 30-acre mixed-use development adjacent to Lambeau Field, also features a large public park with a winter skating rink and tubing hill; the four-diamond hotel, Lodge Kohler; Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine and Orthopedics Clinic; and Hinterland Restaurant and Brewery.

TitletownTech will also serve as the northeastern Wisconsin headquarters of Microsoft’s TechSpark program. The program partners Microsoft employees with local leaders to understand how technology can help address critical economic challenges in smaller, less densely populated areas. Its goal is to develop new digital initiatives to support economic growth across a variety of sectors and expand the development of tech talent.

The TechSpark initiative has been slated for six US communities outside major metropolitan areas, two of which are recent TIP clients. Fargo, North Dakota, was the first community announced. TIP completed a regional workforce strategy in 2015 with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. Additional TechSpark programs will be formally launched over the next few months in Virginia, Texas, Wyoming, and Washington State.

The announcement in Green Bay aligns with the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s recently adopted strategic plan. The plan, completed in partnership with TIP, was rolled out in May 2017. During the planning process, TIP and the Chamber worked closely with the Packers and other area business leaders to craft a set of 11 initiatives aimed at growing the Greater Green Bay economy over the next five years. TitletownTech addresses several of the plan’s initiatives, including business recruitment, talent attraction, and building a more robust environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.