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Global Water Center Draws New Life

S Bence

Not only has Rexnord announced this week it’s moving corporate offices to 247 West Freshwater Way, the center will select a new batch of start ups.

They'll be able to rub shoulders with established companies and scientists, according to Elizabeth Thelen, who coordinates the program. She says it has a new name, to set it apart from other business accelerators.

“We were called the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator, but as you can tell that’s a lot of syllables and there are other accelerators around the United States and the world and they all have very similar names.”

Thelen says the Milwaukee team settled on The BREW. That stands for “Business Research Entrepreneurship in Wisconsin.” Friday just before midnight is the deadline for new applicants.

“I’ve received many, I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls. Last time we did it by nomination only, this time it’s wide open. So we’re getting them from all over the world.”

The current “BREW” roster:

* H20score/MeterHero

* Microbe Detectives

* NEW Works

* Rice Technologies

* Vegetal i.D.

Thelen says they’ve just completed a series of courses that include accounting and marketing.

“It’s a six-month program; we have certain milestones that they have to complete in order to get their funds. And they will officially graduate in June at our water summit.”

Thelen marvels at how much the entrepreneurs support one another.

“They will go to each other, rely on each other – whether is a hiring decision, an accounting problem a marketing issue. Grant it we have all these experts in the building, but it’s still how much they’ve grown as a team. So actually out of it, we’re forming an alumni group and those alumni will actually become mentors.”

The current “team" officially graduates at the annual water summit June 18 and 19, 2014. That’s when the new BREW winners will be announced.

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.
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