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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

If it's an accelerator, it must be good

Wauwatosa, Economy, Development

First it was business incubators. A nice, warm mothery image of soft nurturing as an embryonic business develops and gets strong enough to break out of the shell and move on to go about its work independently.

But everything’s speeding up, and business incubators are so yesterday. They sit in a corner of the barn gathering bits of hay and feathers.

Now we have accelerators, and Wauwatosa wants one for the Burleigh Triangle. Nancy Welch, Community Development Director, says it will make us a global player, and apparently she’s playing hardball with the council to make sure they jump on board the bandwagon. Wait: that’s so old school: the bullet train.

I’m having trouble imagining this accelerator. How do we stomp on the gas pedal to make businesses go faster? Or hurl them around in some sort of nifty particle spinner to create energy when they smash together?

Some say the new language is just that: new name for old concept. Others say it’s a different concept:

With few exceptions, an accelerator restricts its tenant companies to those that are attempting to enter, grow and sustain a national or international market. In order to recruit, grow and retain these types of companies, the resources provided by the accelerator and surrounding network become critical. Resources include but are not limited to high-tech workforce, management mentoring, business development mentoring, i.e. business plan development, 5 year financial pro-forma, etc., fund raising mentoring, introduction to investment prospects, prototype development (mechanical, electrical, software), access to requisite information technology infrastructure, and information technology technical support.

Whew! Good luck with that. I’m sitting on the bench here with Alder Jacqueline Jay, who said "I'm kind of leery of us taking on the role of developer.” Apparently I'm not the only one who says “huh?” when people start slipping into econobusiness-speak. I'd like to know what, besides "fast," is envisioned.

Kudos to Alder Jay for having the guts to raise the all important question, "What exactly are we talking about here?” (my words, not hers).

Apologies for font weirdness. I'm struggling with the new program.

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