July 2013

What's the best way for small business to grow?

Digital technology, websites and social media now are key tools for growing small businesses and competing with larger ones.  "Even if you're making coffee or ice pops or lobster rolls, you can also expand your business using technology," says Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills. "It levels the playing field." ... Read More

State pledges $300,000 to support BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has pledged $300,000 in operating funds for BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a new group that is proposing an unusual plan for raising donations to make venture investments in young state companies. "The nonprofit BrightStar will provide opportunities for philanthropists to support the growth of Wisconsin entrepreneurs," said Reed Hall, secretary and chief executive officer of WEDC, the state's economic development agency. ... Read More

Balloons, helicopter rides draw crowds to Waterford fest

WATERFORD — Decked out in his super-cool shades, 4-year-old Nolan Raynier took his first helicopter ride on Saturday, but it wasn’t at all what he initially expected.  “I thought it would hurt my butt,” the New Berlin boy said matter-of-factly at the third annual Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival.  After assuring that his little posterior was just fine, he said: “I go up in the air and saw farms and swimming pools and trampolines.” ... Read More

Healing victory: Jensen wins Ironman 70.3 Racine Triathalon after recovering from broken foot

RACINE — As minutes were passing like hours for a year and he was walking with crutches instead of running with abandon, Martin Jensen was seriously questioning the adage that time heals all wounds.  The left foot he broke while training Dec. 23, 2011, was showing no signs of recovering sufficiently enough to again handle the rigors of triathlons, even after six months. And 2012 was rapidly regressing into a washout as the native of Aalborg, Denmark, wondered if racing was over for hi... Read More

Tom Burke appointed as Chair of Racine County Workforce Development Board

County Executive Jim Ladwig has appointed Thomas A. Burke as the new Chairman of the Racine County Workforce Development Board (WDB). Burke takes the place of Michael E. Batten, who resigned last month from this position on the Workforce Development Board. ... Read More

GORDON KACALA: Racine County’s manufacturing industry gains ground nationally

NewGeography.com is a website devoted to analyzing and discussing the places where we live and work. The authors address a variety of subjects related to a rapidly changing world, including economic development.  NewGeography annually ranks metropolitan areas across the country on their job growth in various industries. The 2013 rankings were released earlier this year. When examining the data, it’s no surprise that our local business development organizations and chambers of commerce... Read More

Johnson Bank Mortgage surpasses $4 billion mark

Peter Engel, executive vice president of consumer banking for Johnson Bank, announced the Racine-based bank’s mortgage team recently surpassed the $4 billion mark in loans serviced. Johnson Bank Mortgage has had four consecutive years of loan volumes exceeding $1 billion, with more than $1.56 billion in mortgage loans closed in 2012. ... Read More

Nonprofit forming to invest in Wisconsin start-up companies

A new group led by angel investor Tom Shannon will tackle the question that has dogged Wisconsin for more than a decade: With its wealth of ideas and well-educated students, why can't the state produce more job-creating start-up companies?  Shannon and seven other businesspeople on Wednesday will announce the formation of BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., an unusual nonprofit fund that will invest donors' money in high-growth, technology-based companies across the state. ... Read More

Dickert wrapping up visit to French sister city

It’s been a busy week for Racine Mayor John Dickert.  He’s toured a French car factory, met with representatives from a German logistics company and learned how the nougat in our candy bars is made — all from Montélimar — a small city in southeastern France.  Dickert left for the French city — one of Racine’s four sister cities — late on the Fourth of July, arriving a few days after some fellow members of the city’s Sister City Pla... Read More

Sweet taste of victory: Kringle now official state pastry

RACINE — As of last Sunday, it’s official — kringle is now the state pastry of Wisconsin.  That title sounds delicious to Cindy Bendtsen, whose family owns the 3200 Washington Ave. bakery of the same name.  “It’s an awesome thing,” she said. “I’ve been telling customers, ‘Did you know this is happening?’ And they’re like, ‘Well, it’s about time!’ ” ... Read More