Madison Noteworthy shines spotlight on area's brightest business minds

Ask Kay-Tee Franke if she’s worried about finding enough subjects to profile in her new Madison Noteworthy Web video series and she may think you’re just off the bus — or at the very least hopelessly out of touch with the local zeitgeist.

“Oh, I think that’s the least of my worries,” said Franke. “We have some great innovators here. With the right resources and collaboration among the different local networks, I think Madison is positioned to be a really strong entrepreneurial community.”

“There’s something special happening in Madison right now and it’s bigger than any one individual or idea.” — Kay-Tee Franke, co-founder, Madison Noteworthy

Franke, president of Engaging Results Communications, launched Madison Noteworthy in January with co-founders Justin Yapp and Zach Nigh of Green Clock Films.

Franke, Yapp, and Nigh were talking about ways to encourage more innovation and positive activity in the local economy, and with Yapp’s and Nigh’s backgrounds in videography, the idea for a new Web series that focused on Madison’s most forward-thinking businesses and nonprofits just sort of fell naturally into place.

But the notion that the trio would somehow run out of grist for their new mill? That never occurred to them.

“One of the challenges that we face right now is having to select which businesses and nonprofits to feature in this,” said Franke. “It’s fairly new, but it’s picked up some steam already with nominations coming through and people shooting us emails and calling, wanting to be featured in one of these. We can’t feature all of the great ideas. There’s just not enough time in the day to do that all at once.”

According to Franke, one of the primary goals of Madison Noteworthy is to highlight some of the unique stories from the local business and nonprofit communities in order to inspire entrepreneurs in the Greater Madison area, while further fostering a spirit of cooperation among local businesspeople.

So far, they’ve uncovered some true gems, and they’re just getting started.

In the series’ “pilot season,” which recently concluded, Madison Noteworthy featured GoStrive, murfie.com, La Movido Radio, and CONNECT Madison. Those episodes were shot with the help of several guest hosts, including Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon; Boys & Girls Club of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson; Janelle Higgins, past president of Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs; and Sara Alvarado of the Alvarado Real Estate Group.

Following a bit of retooling, the official first season is now underway, featuring permanent hosts Christi Andringa of Candringa! Productions and Mike Victorson, president and CEO of M3 Insurance. And it’s clear that the series is homing in on some of the best stories the Madison business community has to offer.

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First up was a feature on Fishidy, a resource-rich social network that allows users to trade angling tips and fishing reports while gleaning information on thousands of waterways across the U.S.

Next came 100 + Women Who Care — Madison, a new nonprofit organization that allows local women to pool $100 each, which can be bundled into donations totaling up to $10,000 for local charities.

Most recently, Madison Noteworthy profiled MobCraft, a Madison business that’s taking advantage of two burgeoning business trends: craft brewing and crowdsourcing.

“When we put [MobCraft’s] story together, I learned a lot more about them than is on their website,” said Franke. “They’re a craft brewery that’s located here in Madison, and rather than just coming up with their own recipes and selling them in local bars or through grocery stores, they allow people to submit some of the recipes they want brewed, and then their customers vote on which one they should brew.

“The way they fund a lot of their company, too, is that when people vote on which beer is going to be brewed, they actually place a pre-order in order to place that vote, so they have people placing orders before they go into production with that batch.”

Three local organizations — three brilliantly innovative approaches to unique problems (assuming it’s a “problem” not to have a bottle of MobCraft’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Porter or Tea Infused Red Ale in your fridge).

A true community project

Madison Noteworthy plans on releasing a total of 12 three-minute-plus videos in its inaugural season, and with nine more to go, it’s counting on a little crowdsourcing help of its own.

Up until now, Franke, Yapp, and Nigh have funded the series on their own, but they recently launched a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to defray some of the venture’s costs, raising more than $1,000 in just a week. The goal is to ultimately raise $5,000.

Meanwhile, Madison Noteworthy is actively soliciting ideas for new episodes. By going to the Madison Noteworthy website and clicking on the “nominate” tab (or simply clicking here) viewers can suggest profiles of other entrepreneurs who are “doing things a little differently.”

To Franke, the feedback Madison Noteworthy has received so far from local businesspeople is a testament to their growing sense of fellowship.

“I guess I realized before that Madison has this unique culture where we all tend to collaborate together toward common missions, but I don’t know if I completely appreciated the depth of that collaboration until I was able to see these different entrepreneurs and people nominating each other and showing each other encouragement,” said Franke. “There really seems to be this team spirit right now of collaborating for a greater cause or a greater good.”

And if Franke is right, that spirit will keep Madison Noteworthy from running out of material for years to come.

“There’s something special happening in Madison right now and it’s bigger than any one individual or idea,” said Franke. “You can sense the collective momentum that’s making Madison a friendly home to new ideas.”

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