WEDC and the University of Wisconsin System are providing a $2 million seed fund for UW-Extension to administer and help commercialize technology and ideas developed at UW campuses statewide. Ideadvance is the first gap fund initiative in UW history – following a trend of similar university-focused funds at educational institutions nationwide.

The Ideadvance Seed Fund provides up to $75,000 in two stages to support entrepreneurs as they evaluate product or service ideas, explore key markets, validate demand and develop strategies for investment sources. Ideadvance grants will support commercialization of ideas across all disciplines, from the sciences to humanities and liberal arts. Potential outcomes of the initiative include new business creation, business expansion, jobs creation, retention of UW System school graduates in the state and improvement of the quality of Wisconsin’s products and services.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch voiced her support for Ideadvance at news conference about the initiative

“Ideadvance represents a new day in Wisconsin.” – Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch


UW-Extension will accept applications in three rounds beginning in March, May and November 2014 and will encourage applications from:

  • Faculty, staff or students who are employed at least half time at UW System schools (Note: Funding is not available for businesses affiliated with UW-Madison. However, UW-Madison faculty, staff and students may collaborate on proposals submitted by eligible applicants from other UW institutions.)
  • Companies that license technology through the WiSys Technology Foundation
  • Companies that license technology through the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation

Individuals who are interested in applying for the grant should contact the New Idea Concierge, Idella Yamben (, for details and to receive one-on-one assistance with preparing a proposal.  Also, for more information, please visit the Ideadvance website at, or follow the initiative on twitter: @ideadvanceFund.