Incentives, Financing and Assistance
A wide range of financial incentives, loan programs, grants and business support services are available to start and grow businesses in the Milwaukee Region. In addition to the strong private-sector financial community, there is an established network of venture capitalists, angel investors and economic development agencies that offer numerous choices for entrepreneurs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration
provides technical, financial and contracting assistance, as well as special programs for veterans, women, minorities and young entrepreneurs.
State Incentives & Resources
Wisconsin’s state agencies that provide economic development programs and business support services include:
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the state's primary agency for business development, focuses on business retention, expansion and relocation, business finance and export development. It works independently or in conjunction with local development agencies. Resources include:
The Wisconsin Business AnswerLine provides free information to small business owners and their staffs in the state of Wisconsin on a wide variety of business topics. AnswerLine staff have access to an extensive document library, phone and web resources and often field calls about starting a business, business planning, permits and licensing, insurance, legal entity types and business financing topics. These resources can also be e-mailed to the caller to answer their questions quickly and efficiently. The AnswerLine is available from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Call: 800-940-7232. Or use this secure online form.
The State of Wisconsin's Business Wizard provides customized information on licensing, permitting and regulatory requirements. Using a question-and-answer format, the Wizard provides information to help you start and operate a Wisconsin-based business.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Agency (WHEDA) offers a choice of small business financing products, including loan guarantees and interest rate subsidies.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a Permit Primer that offers a step-by-step, question-and-answer tour of the DNR regulatory programs to help you determine which environmental requirements apply to you, what permits you need and how to get them.
LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES
Counties and several communities have economic development programs that provide financial and technical assistance. The community economic development programs typically work in partnership with the private lending community and utilize similar credit analysis and underwriting criteria. Following are the local economic development programs in the region:
Kenosha Area Business Alliance: Economic development and business services, including revolving loan funds, site-selection assistance, economic data and training programs
Milwaukee County Economic and Community Development: Technical and financial assistance to businesses and municipalities
Milwaukee Department of City Development: Coordinates business development, real estate development, planning and permitting for the City of Milwaukee
Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.: Assistance with financing, property location, grant, tax credits, business plan preparation and environmental issues
Milwaukee Water Works:
The City of Milwaukee's Water Works offers discounted water rates to encourage business growth and job creation
Wauwatosa Economic Development Corp.: Planning, financing and permitting assistance to business and developers located in or relocating to the city
West Allis Department of Development: Technical and financial assistance to new and existing businesses located in or relocating to the city
Ozaukee County Economic Development Corp.: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to Ozaukee County
Economic Development for Grafton Enhancement (EDGE): Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to the Grafton area
Racine County Economic Development Corp.: Assistance with workforce and technology development, business financing, site location and government programs
Walworth County Economic Development Alliance: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to Walworth County
Economic Development/Washington County: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to Washington County
Hartford Area Development Corp.: Planning, financing and permitting assistance to business and developers located in or relocating to the city
West Bend Department of Development: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to the city
Waukesha County Economic Development Corp.: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to Waukesha County
Brookfield Economic Development Division: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to the city
Menomonee Falls Economic Development Division: Financial and technical assistance for companies located in or relocating to the city
Angel investors & Venture Capital
The first angel investing group in Wisconsin was established in 2000. Since that time, new angel groups have formed each year. Angel investors typically focus on companies that have already developed a basic concept and business strategy, and are in the seed stage of investment. An emphasis is placed on business enterprises with the potential for rapid growth. Angel investors in the Milwaukee Region include the Golden Angels Network and Silicon Pastures.
The Wisconsin Angel Network supports Wisconsin's entrepreneurial spirit by providing entrepreneurs and angel investors a "yellow pages" directory of resources which can assist in making equity investments in early stage companies.
Baird Capital invests in early- to growth-stage Business Services and Healthcare/Life Sciences companies where its expertise, capital and broad network of resources complement management's business objectives and strategy.