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Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Acquires Accelerate Madison

MADISON – Effective May 5, 2014, Accelerate Madison Inc. became a program of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. Combining the two organizations creates more efficient and effective collaboration focused on identifying, accelerating and celebrating business in Greater Madison while retaining a separate voice to advance the strategic role of technology.

“One of the roles of the Chamber is to identify and support the business trends and clusters growing and developing in our ecosystem,” said David Wittwer, Chamber board chair, Accelerate Madison member and president and CEO of TDS. “With Dane County ranking in the top 10 in the U.S. for information technology job growth, it is clear that technology is a booming sector that needs our additional attention.”

Effective immediately, Accelerate Madison members become members of the Chamber. The Accelerate Madison brand will remain intact with separate communications, events and networking for those Chamber members with a higher-level interest in the tech sector.

“We created Accelerate Madison in 2001 because we saw a unique opportunity to advance the strategic role of digital technology in business growth, economic expansion and job creation,” said James Jackson, co-founder of Accelerate Madison and CEO of GoStrive. “The organization was critical to increasing the success and national visibility of Madison’s then-emerging tech sector. We’re proud to be part of the next phase of uniting technology and business leaders as Accelerate Madison takes an even larger role in the business community.”

A significant membership and events overlap currently exists with both organizations.

“This consolidation does not change the focus of the Chamber’s mission of Building a Greater Madison, it actually formalizes what was already happening in the business ecosystem,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “Existing Chamber members will now receive the additional opportunity to network and collaborate with tech entrepreneurs and learn firsthand how businesses of all sizes and sectors can benefit from each other.”

Brandon said the tech sector feeds new and existing businesses, create new jobs, grows new talent and develops community wealth in our region.

“A perfect example of innovation converging with talent, technology and tradition is the Constellation recently built on East Washington,” said Accelerate Madison Inc. Executive Director Mark Clear who will help guide the transition through 2014. “The Constellation – designed to house the talent being attracted by the tech sector – also secured Google to its second floor and provided opportunity for two respected and proven local entrepreneurs to open a novel coffee shop and Madison’s newest casual Asian restaurant.”

The Accelerate Madison board will remain intact and remain an important part of setting strategic direction as an advisory board to the Greater Madison Chamber board of directors.

“This consolidation takes two great organizations and makes them stronger and more unified in their mission to advance Greater Madison and showcase our innovative businesses to the rest of the world,” said Anne Ross, Accelerate Madison board member, managing partner at Foley & Lardner and Chamber member. “In today’s world, the distinctions between ‘technology companies’ and traditional businesses are becoming less relevant with every day that passes. Manufacturers, health care providers, insurance companies, and other major business sectors are heavily reliant on digital technology. This consolidation is just another step in our evolution as a business community.”

To celebrate the history of Accelerate Madison and its future with the Chamber, June 23, 2014 will be the first consolidated event. Watch for details about our event featuring Kaaren Hanson, Intuit’s vice president of design innovation. Hanson speaks nationally on Creating a Culture of Rapid Experimentation, and how businesses of all sizes and sectors should fall in love with problems, not solutions.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 7,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

Click here for pdf version of the press release.

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