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Milwaukee to Build Design Tech Cluster

The Greater Milwaukee Committee, a CEOs for Cities partner, is fostering economic growth through cluster development. The committee recently revealed a plan to build a design technology cluster, which mostly consists of information technology, in Milwaukee. By creating a Design Technology Council, Milwaukee hopes to bring together corporate community members and entrepreneurs to garner mentorship relationships. In an article in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Julia Taylor, President of GMC, cites Grand Avenue in Milwaukee as the "physical and virtual center for innovation and ingenuity" for the new design tech cluster. Cluster development is an important tool for cities building entrepreneurship and economic growth.

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Clusters on the Brain

Want to create local innovation clusters?

While there is still much debate about cities’ ability to create clusters, Vivek Wadhwa of Duke University’ s Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization says the answer is to invest in people not real estate.

In this recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, he shares his short list on boosting entrepreneurship and innovation:

  • Remove the cultural stigma associated with failure.
  • Teach entrepreneurship to everyone – students and experienced workers.
  • Import skilled immigrants.
  • Create connections among people locally and globally.
  • Improve the local education system.
  • Reward university researchers for creating start-ups and jobs instead of for publishing papers and giving talks.
  • Invest in networks.
  • Link university researchers to entrepreneurs and generate opportunities to exchange ideas.

A recent analysis of Portland’s athletic and outdoor cluster released by Portland Development Commission may also shed light on clusters.

Joe Cortright, a collaborator on the study says:

“The athletic and outdoor cluster is remarkable for many reasons. The jobs in Portland are at the apex of a global industry. Firms in the industry depend heavily on the local talent base, which is producing entrepreneurs and spinoff firms, and also attracting businesses…

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