If you are a member of the 100State coworking site in Madison and you need a place in southeast Wisconsin to meet with someone — say, a potential investor — you will be able to use the facilities at 96Square in Milwaukee.
The two coworking operations agreed to the reciprocity at a meeting earlier this month aimed at strengthening ties between the entrepreneurial communities in the two cities.
Members of 100State, the gener8tor tech accelerator, and Capital Entrepreneurs led a bus trip of about three dozen Madison area people to Milwaukee, where they met with about 150 members of 96Square and Startup Milwaukee.
Michael Fenchel, executive director of 100State, led a brainstorming session to see how entrepreneurs in Madison and Milwaukee can bridge the geographic gap.
“What was great about this was: Everybody was wanting to do it totally cooperatively, not worrying whose brand it was under,” he said. “I think it definitely highlighted that there’s a lot of willingness on both sides to build a shared community.”
In addition to the shared coworking space, Fenchel said a group from Milwaukee will come to Madison in January.
96Square — named for Milwaukee’s 96 square miles of land — was established about a year ago in part of the old Blatz brewery and offers startup space, coworking and mentorship.
While Madison may have had a head start in encouraging startups, Milwaukee has more potential investors, Fenchel said. “The real win is that in startups, you get your resources through the people you know,” he said.
Joe Kirgues, co-founder of the gener8tor accelerator with offices in both Madison and Milwaukee, said the two communities can benefit from expanded connections.
“At our program, we sometimes are surprised at how people in one community really don’t know people from another. To the extent events like the (recent visit to Milwaukee) help bridge that gap, they’re very valuable,” Kirgues said.
Making Madison’s airport more cyber-accessible
If you are headed out of town for the holidays via the Dane County Regional Airport, you’ll be able to go online more easily for at least the next month or so.
Wireless Internet service at Madison’s airport will be free during the holiday season, provider SupraNet Communications said. Up to now, travelers have had to buy a daily, weekly or monthly Internet pass to check their email or go online at the airport on their laptops.
SupraNet, a Madison Internet provider since 1994, bought Mad City Broadband, the previous provider, a year ago. “We’ve been looking to improve the service ever since,” SupraNet spokeswoman Rachel Whitmore said.
No word yet on how long the free Wifi will be available.