Now in its second year in Wisconsin, Companies to Watch is a distinctive nationwide awards program developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace, exhibit innovative products, services, or processes, or otherwise make their company “worth watching.” Second-stage companies employ at least six people, are privately owned, and have between $750,000 and $50 million in annual revenue.


Companies to Watch is specifically designed to seek out businesses from industries representing all areas of the state, not just those in major metropolitan areas. In addition to an evaluation on past growth and projected success, applicant companies are judged according to their special strengths. These strengths revolve around innovative products and business practices, special use of technology, work within the community and more.


There are a number of reasons to be recognized as a Wisconsin Company to Watch, including regional and statewide recognition, media coverage, high-level networking at the awards event, and the opportunity to tell their company story to thousands of people.


“This program has proven its ability to help companies that have reached that all-important second stage of growth,” said Department of Commerce Secretary Aaron Olver. “We’re pleased to join the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network in sponsoring this competition.”


WEN and Commerce have been host to another Edward Lowe Foundation program since 2005. PeerSpectives, a peer learning roundtable group for entrepreneurs currently has eight tables around Wisconsin, facilitated by the Small Business Development Center network. CTW award winners will be invited to join a peer learning group that gives them the opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of the group of winners.


Professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, bankers, public relations representatives and economic development professionals, are encouraged to nominate businesses they believe should be recognized. Companies may also nominate themselves. The deadline for nomination is Dec. 17, 2010. Once nominated, companies interested in vying for the award must submit an application, which will be accepted until Jan. 14, 2011.


The companies selected as 2011 Wisconsin Companies to Watch will be recognized at a gala event set for May 5, 2011 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison.


For further information visit or contact Cathy Sullivan at