Milwaukee innovators, investors, academics and business leaders packed Turner Hall Tuesday night for gener8tor’s 2019 Accelerator Studio Premier night, which featured a fireside chat with Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft Corp.

The event highlighted the completion of the Wisconsin accelerator and venture fund’s inaugural Accelerator Studio, a program designed to build startups from scratch using only Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs.

Smith, a Wisconsin native who grew up in Appleton, talked about his new book, “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age.” The book, he said, depicts the impact the digital age is having, and will have, on communities and businesses.

During the Q&A chat with gener8tor co-founder Joe Kirgues, Smith expressed his pleasure with Milwaukee hosting the 2020 Democratic National Convention, but also talked about how Microsoft is developing technology to protect political candidates from having their emails hacked and creating technology to protect U.S. voting systems from hackers.

Other topics discussed by Smith included Green Bay’s TitletownTech, the venture and tech startup partnership with the Packers through its TechSpark Wisconsin program, and the importance of providing broadband internet access to rural regions in the U.S. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has a four-year agreement with Packerland Broadband, a division of CCI Systems Inc., to provide broadband in northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

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