When Jason Fields became president and CEO of the Madison Regional Economic Partnership this January, he took on the challenge of growing the region’s economy in a year like no other.

He’s only the second person to fill the role at the economic development agency, often referred to as MadREP, which serves Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk counties.

Fields comes to the job from the state Legislature, where he served six terms in the Assembly representing Milwaukee. Outside of government, he’s spent his career in various forms of finance, managing more than $100 million in assets, founding a nonprofit that teaches financial and business literacy (The Financial Promise Foundation, Inc.) and a venture capital fund that invests in underrepresented business founders (Dark Knight Capital Ventures).

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted MadREP to redouble its efforts to understand what community members across the region need right now. That also means, Fields said, addressing the ways rural residents suffered under the policies of President Donald Trump’s administration. “I really want to send a message to our rural brothers and sisters that we’re here and that we care about their success,” Fields said.

In his first days on the job, he announced a partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team to provide free support and education to Black businesses and entrepreneurs in the state through the Lonely Entrepreneur, a website offering hundreds of online training modules.

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