Water Council receives SBA Regional Innovation Cluster Award
The U.S. Small Business Administration has selected The Water Council as one of four new Regional Innovation Cluster awardees, adding to its portfolio of high-performing regional innovation networks across the country.
MILWAUKEE, WI, Oct. 3, 2014 -- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has selected The Water Council as one of four new Regional Innovation Cluster awardees, adding to its portfolio of high-performing regional innovation networks across the country. These clusters focus on the most effective approaches to linking small businesses to regional networks of leading research, commercialization tools and financing.
Accordingly, The Water Council will focus on the creation of a Center of Excellence (CoE) for Freshwater Innovation and Small Business Development. The CoE will promote the growth and development of small businesses operating in the water technology sector, initially in the Midwest and then expanding across the United States.
"This contract by the SBA will allow The Water Council to invest in building support systems that will increase small water cluster businesses' access to these critical resources, enabling them to grow faster, employ more people and have a greater economic impact on their surrounding community," said Rich Meeusen, chairman, president and CEO of Badger Meter, Inc. and co-chair and co-founder of The Water Council.
The development of the CoE will elevate The Water Council's role as a global water leader. In partnership with InnovationExchange and inno360, the Council will develop the Water Collaborative Innovation Platform (see "Water Council launches groundbreaking Water Collaborative Innovation Platform"), a web-based search, innovation management and analytics tool that will enable water industry and academic researchers worldwide to conduct the most complete mining of water research information that has ever existed.
"The world is undergoing a catastrophic water crisis. No longer is water a calamity for arid developing countries -- it is now an issue that everyone must face no matter where we call home," said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO, The Water Council. "The Center of Excellence will help train small businesses as they navigate the international marketplace and deploy their innovative technologies to help solve these water challenges."
The four Regional Innovation Cluster awardees, ranging from $500,000 to $550,000, were selected from more than 40 applicants and represent a wide range of diverse geographic areas and industries. "Milwaukee has a history of successfully building small businesses in the water technology industry as evidenced by its current list of multi-national water technology corporations, many which began in the city more than a century ago," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a member of The Water Council board of directors.
Supporting the CoE will be a team of experts that will include the Alliance for Water Stewardship, Defense Alliance, International Water Association, Imagine H2O, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Institute for Water Business, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service, Water Environment Federation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
About The Water Council
The Water Council, the only organization of its kind in the U.S., was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders. With more than 150 water technology companies in the Milwaukee area, the region’s water industry is a $10.5-billion market and accounts for 4 percent of the world's total water business. The non-profit organization, consisting of more than 160 members, is linking together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, acclaimed academic research programs and, most importantly, some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic water professionals. For more information, visit www.thewatercouncil.com.