NFL’s Green Bay Packers Are Latest Partner In Microsoft’s Tech Spark Initiative
“We are probably not going to find the technology breakthrough for the future of farming in downtown San Francisco,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer recently told Reuters. He went on to add, “We’re much more likely to find it in Green Bay, Wisconsin.”
The Seattle based technology giant is ramping up its efforts to support technolgy and innovation across the entire country, a trend made popular nearly a decade ago by the likes of Startup America, Tech.co and Nibletz.com. There’s a renewed sense of responsibility to middle America and the “fly over” states after President Trump’s shocking win last November.
Supporting the rural middle class and their contributions to technology has been a priority for our biggest tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft in the last twelve months. Apple is dumping billions of dollars into facilities in Reno Nevada and Des Moines Iowa. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerber has made it a point to connect with entrepreneurs in a variety of middle states. Amazon has started an all out biddin war for its next headquarters across the entire county.
Microsoft’s effort, Tech Spark, is a little more direct and intentional. They are partnering with other corporate partners across the country and directly partnering with startups.
The Green Bay Packers are Microsoft’s latest partner. Each organization has earmarked $5 million dollars to invest directly into startups and innovation.
According to several online reports there is no requirement that these startups have anything to do with sports. It’s just a way to spur innovation and prop up local economies.
Now Wisconsin is no stranger to startups. Gener8tor, an incubation and acceleration company based in both Milwaukee and Madison, has been helping startups for years with several different initiatives.
The Winnebago Seed Fund is a funding resource available to startups from Osh Kosh to Green Bay in North Eastern Wisconsin.
Certainly two big names like the Packers and Microsoft will help move the startup needle even further.
“For communities like ours in the manufacturing belt, this is going to get us to where we need to be in order to be competitive well into the future,” Ed Policy, Green Bay Packers general counsel, told Reuters last Wednesday.