UW-Madison: DreamUp WI launching second round of competition to increase income for Dane County families

Contact: Hilary Shager, (608) 262-7990, hilary.shager@wisc.edu

DreamUp WI is launching its second round of competition, seeking entrepreneurial ideas to increase the net income of 10,000 Dane County families by 10 percent by the year 2022, by reducing costs of living or increasing economic resources.

Teams with the strongest proposals could win up to $60,000 in development funding across three competitive rounds, as well as a chance to pitch their idea to Schmidt Futures for up to $1 million in implementation funding in 2020. Moreover, as with the first round of competition, qualifying teams will be eligible to compete for a $500,000 pool of implementation matching funds from Schmidt Futures to complement local fundraising efforts.

DreamUp WI is the local version of The Alliance for the American Dream. The Alliance is sponsored by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that bets early on people who will make our world better — helping people to achieve more for others by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by working together across fields. Schmidt Futures has partnered with the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and three other universities, to find and develop innovative ideas to expand and strengthen the middle class.

Last year’s competition advanced two teams that will pitch their proposals this summer. The ideas that advanced were chosen for their interdisciplinary, data driven, and technological approaches, and inclusion of diverse communities. Legal Interventions for Transforming (LIFT) Dane seeks to create a game changing online platform that provides workers with easy access to public data and services to eliminate legal barriers to employment, housing, and economic stability. We Care for Dane Kids developed an innovative, multi-pronged approach to transforming the early childhood and after school care sectors by expanding access to child care subsidies, supplementing child care workers’ wages, utilizing shared services networks to reduce facilities’ operating expenses, and creating a child care benefit program.

This year’s competition hopes to build on the success and support from the community in the first round to generate more ideas to meet this ambitious challenge. Lonnie Berger, Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is leading the initiative, remarked, “Our community’s enthusiasm for and engagement in DreamUp thus far has been nothing short of inspiring. We are excited to have this additional opportunity to develop an even larger portfolio of proposals for improving economic well-being in our region, and look forward to our continuing work with the teams from the first round, as well as working with new teams as we move forward.”

DreamUp WI will hold MeetUps on Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 starting May 30, alternating every other week between the UW South Madison Partnership Space on Park Street and UW Pyle Center on campus. Initial Round 2 proposals are due October 1, 2019.

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