Starting a Business
It’s easy to start a successful business in the Milwaukee Region, thanks to a variety of federal, state and local programs. In fact, Entrepreneur magazine ranks the region as one of the “hottest” urban areas for entrepreneurs. Approximately 85 percent of the region’s business establishments have fewer than 25 employees.
Among the many business support programs available include:
BizStarts Milwaukee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering and promoting entrepreneurship in southeastern Wisconsin, focuses on connecting entrepreneurs with the resources to launch and grow their companies. BizStarts Milwaukee assists with business planning, connecting with early-stage investing and other issues that face start-up companies. BizStarts also offers a Entrepreneur Self-Assessment Tool to gauge readiness to start a business.
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 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.
Office of Women's Business Ownership offers business training and technical assistance, along with access to credit and capital, federal contracts and international trade opportunities.
Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) provides small business plan preparation and business advice.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) offers advice, training and resources for entrepreneurs and small companies.
Small Business Administration (SBA) provides financial, technical and management assistance.