Milwaukee & Veolia Water Create Springboard for Water-Sector Entrepreneurs

10/31/11  • Water

Initiative builds on Veolia Innovation Accelerator, Veolia Water R&D program; Milwaukee Water Council building to serve as "go-to" place for water technologies

MILWAUKEE, Oct. 31, 2011 – Entrepreneurs looking for ways to grow their environmental businesses can receive a significant boost thanks to a new City of Milwaukee and Veolia Water program.

Creating a springboard for new creative water technologies by making it easier to test technical approaches and build channels to market, Veolia Water and the Veolia Innovation Accelerator's cleantech sourcing program are collaborating with the City of Milwaukee, which is offering city facilities and assets as a proving ground for new technologies.

The new program confirms Milwaukee's positioning as a major world hub in the area of water management and water technology solutions.
Program highlights include:
  • The Veolia Innovation Accelerator (VIA), a technology initiative by Veolia Water's parent company Veolia Environnement, the world's leading environmental services company, will support green growth and economic development in Milwaukee by promoting the development and deployment of leading clean technologies in partnership with start-up companies.
  • Innovative start-up companies can enter the VIA program to get evaluated by Veolia domain experts and explore partnership opportunities that can accelerate the deployment of these innovative technologies. Partnership elements could include lab testing, pilot demonstrations, engineering and operational support, business model refinement and commercial marketing support.
  • Under the leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett, the City of Milwaukee will create an easy andwelcoming business environment for companies developing new water technologies by leveraging its water facilities for testing and piloting. Preston Cole, director of operations for Milwaukee's Department of Public Works Operations Division, will serve as the single point of contact for coordinating services and support within the city for all areas related to water technologies.
  • The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) will provide on-the-ground testing support for new technologies that might be installed in their wastewater treatment facilities. Veolia Water North America will assist in this effort as part of the world's leading water company and as the operator of MMSD's Jones Island and South Shore water reclamation facilities and the District's conveyance and deep tunnel systems, which serves 28 communities and over 1 million people. The company will support implementing the potential technology pilots, building on its $1.5 million R&D program already underway with the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Great Lakes Water Institute, Marquette University and MMSD.
  • An added development to this new initiative is the construction of the new research and business accelerator building to be developed through a substantial renovation of a historic Milwaukee property located at 223 W. Pittsburgh. Once completed in early 2013, the new building will house the Milwaukee Water Council and serve as a hub for water R&D activities. The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee has already committed to locating scientists and researchers from its School of Freshwater Sciences. National water companies including Badger Meter and A.O. Smith, along with Veolia Water, have committed to taking space in the building.
"Veolia's decision to support this clean technology initiative is another affirmation that our region is considered a global center for water research and clean technology development," Mayor Barrett said. "The new initiative will strengthen the local economy, broaden our base of environmental companies, and send a clear signal to innovative start-ups around the world that Milwaukee makes it easy for environmental companies to grow their businesses here. The new Milwaukee Water Council building will have a powerful combination of leading national and international water technology companies, exceptional scientists, supportive local government, and ground-breaking start-up water companies."

Milwaukee was designated as the United Nations Global Compact City for freshwater management in 2009.

Laurent Auguste, president and CEO of Veolia Water Americas, said the effort should increase the likelihood of success by entrepreneurial firms while supporting the community.

"By using existing infrastructure, an existing network of companies and organizations, and the insights of academia, Milwaukee is taking progressive steps that will streamline and connect the pieces necessary for the success of entrepreneurs and companies," Auguste said. "By the same token, society and the environment will benefit from any success we're able to support. It's another exciting example of how value can be delivered to a local community and regional economy when public and private organizations work collaboratively toward the greater good."

Companies and investors interested in more information on how to apply to the VIA program should consult:
Based in Chicago, Veolia Water North America is the leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers, providing services to more than 14 million people in approximately 650 North American communities. The company is part of the Veolia Environnement companies in North America, with 30,000 North American employees providing sustainable environmental solutions in water management, waste services, energy management, and passenger transportation.

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services and technological solutions. Its parent company, Veolia Environnement (NYSE: VE and Paris Euronext: VIE), is the worldwide reference in environmental services. With more than 312,000 employees, Veolia Environnement recorded annual revenues of $50 billion in 2009. Visit the company's Web sites at and

Jodie Tabak
City of Milwaukee
Scott Edwards
Veolia North America
Dean Amhaus
Milwaukee Water Council