When Zach Brandon asks people to think about the titans of Wisconsin’s economy, they usually rattle off names like Harley-Davidson, Kohler, SC Johnson, Johnson Controls, Miller, Leinenkugel, Kohl’s, Briggs & Stratton and Oshkosh Corporation.
“You go down this list and think about these companies, there’s a common thread — they’re either named after people or places,” says Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. “That’s how you know that they grew this company from the ground up, you didn’t import it from somewhere else.”
But the list also reminds Brandon that times have changed. There’s no apparent wave of emerging companies in Wisconsin poised to be the titans of tomorrow.
As the Kauffman Foundation reported in May, for the third year in a row Wisconsin ranks last in the country in the number of companies that were formed — both among the 25 most populous states (which Wisconsin is among) and among all 50 states. The state’s rate for new entrepreneurs is .21 percent, meaning that for every 100,000 adults living here, 210 of them started businesses. Read the full story here.