The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC) Seed Accelerator Program helps support business training programs throughout the state so that aspiring business owners can connect with the resources they need to support new companies.
WEDC’s Seed Accelerator Program provides grants to eligible communities, non-profits, mission-based organizations and other organizations to support pre-seed businesses. Programs must incorporate training, mentoring and financial assistance to entrepreneurs in their service or mission area. Grant funds may be used as seed capital for companies in the accelerator, as well as for costs associated with administering the accelerator program.
An organization receiving WEDC Seed Accelerator Funds must demonstrate that its programs will be managed by an experienced entrepreneur(s) with relevant industry knowledge or commensurate knowledge satisfactory to WEDC. The organization must also provide a detailed plan for accelerator operations, including sustainable funding sources and program marketing.
Recipients must maintain an average co-investment ratio of 1:1 matching funds to support the implementation of their programs, which are required to operate in Wisconsin. The application, process and criteria the organization uses to make grants are also subject to WEDC approval.
Recipients must implement programming that includes the Lean Startup methodology or other curriculum approved by WEDC that reflects similar best practices in business model design, including a process for developing, testing and validating the commercial viability of an idea.
Grant funds may be used as follows:
Factors determining the level of funding for grants to businesses include the number of companies per class and the length of the seed accelerator program for each class. The amount of grant funding available per company is generally between $5,000 and $50,000.
Recipients may be eligible for additional funding cycles based on pre-defined performance metrics and their ability to raise additional matching funds. Recipients will be required to provide periodic reporting on data related to program performance.