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Grant program helps state start-ups find info

Wisconsin TechSearch logo

Wisconsin TechSearch Director Lenny Black and his staff spend their days finding single useful needles buried in haystacks of information.

A fee-based service of the Kurt F. Wendt Library in the College of Engineering, TechSearch can access information in more than 500 scientific literature databases and resources in UW-Madison libraries and worldwide and find publications, reports, journal articles, patents and more.

Now an innovative partnership and grant program will make TechSearch services even more accessible to Wisconsin's small technology-based businesses and start-up companies. The Wisconsin Technical Information Partnership, or WisTIP, is a collaboration among UW-Madison Libraries, the UW-Extension's Small Business Development Center, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Designed specifically for high-tech Wisconsin businesses and start-up companies, WisTIP offers grants of up to $500 to cover costs associated with using TechSearch. Most searches average $100 to $150; most copies of articles range from $13 to $40, including a copyright fee, if applicable.

Because much of the information in its sources is not readily available, businesses and industries throughout the country use TechSearch to quickly and easily find the information they need to stay ahead of their competition. "Even free, publicly available sources such as U.S. or foreign patent websites can be difficult to navigate," says Black. "We know how to get the information so people don't have to spend their time doing it."

Information requests in the engineering, business, life sciences and medical fields run the gamut, says Black. Recently, he searched for foreign patents for diabetes medicines, journal articles and conference papers about laboratory ergonomics, patents and articles about early CD-ROM technology, and information about the latest groundwater bioremediation techniques.

And TechSearch can deliver those results in as little as four hours, or usually within a day or two.

Mark Bugher, director of University Research Park, finds the WisTIP grant program a helpful tool for local businesses. "Access to our library collections is extraordinarily important for our entrepreneurs and start-up companies in University Research Park," Bugher says.

The WisTIP partnership is a useful way to share ideas and technology information across the state as well as bolster economic growth, says Kenneth Frazier, director of the UW-Madison Libraries. "This is a perfect example of the Wisconsin Idea," he says.

For more information or to apply for a WisTIP grant, visit

Wisconsin Technical Information Partnership