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Ideadvance Seed Fund – Innovation Creates Your Buisness

by Jeremy Williamson


The Ideadvance Seed Fund program was first launched in 2014, and has awarded $2.7 million in grants to recipients. It was designed to allow existing and new businesses to learn more about innovative ideas and technologies. This team of advisors’ mission is to explore these new innovative directions, identify goals, and support the changes that may make owners feel a little uncomfortable in order to improve their business. By gaining a new perspective, organizations can start to reduce business and technical risk so they can start to lure more customers, partners, or other funding sources. This program is funded by the University of Wisconsin System (UW System) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The partnership with the UW System allows businesses to incorporate local talent and technical improvements. 

Small Business Innovation applicants are eligible up to $15,000 in aid throughout Stage 1 in this program. Partnered Innovation applicants are eligible up to $25,000. 

Above is a short video about RCI Engineering, an agriculture company that used the Ideadvance Seed Fund and their business partner experts to improve their business by investing in new technology and innovation strategies. 


If you are looking to register for this program, a UW System affiliated staff member, faculty, student, or alumni has to assist the team to play a role in the project or company outcomes. Non, UW-System companies that are exploring the development of licensed technology from the WiSys Technology Foundation or the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation are also eligible to register. 

Applicants must be companies that have participated in Ideadvance Stage 1 programs and have completed these deliverables. These applicants must have a flexible and innovative approach for customer acquisition and follow-on funding towards a scalable business model.

The grant money is earned after demonstrating key learnings toward developmental goals. 

Small Business Innovation

These applicants are likely a startup, but have at least two dedicated full time or part time employees. On this track, awardees are likely to pursue next step, which includes – follow-on funding through revenue, angels or venture capital funding, and focus on Lean Startup learning objectives towards a sales introduction with new customers and review debt financing and/or equity financing strategies. 

Partnered Innovation

Applicants may be established businesses or startups but have no more than 50 employees and appropriate annual receipt size exclusions (see register link below for more information). With this, awardees are likely to pursue the next step, following with funding through a partner strategy, grants, contracts, investments, etc. From here businesses can focus more on the Lean Startup learning objectives given through this program, which will aid in a fully executed partner agreement or engagement for other competitive grant/contract, or debt/equity financing.


To learn more about this program or speak to a representative about eligibility, see below. 

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