In Wisconsin

Inside WEDC

Key Strategic Partners

Statewide network of economic development partners help position Wisconsin for success.

Inside WEDC


Economic development thrives in an environment of collaboration. This partnership positions businesses and communities for success through a commitment to Wisconsin’s prosperity that is shared by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and its many partner organizations throughout the state.


When a state’s economic development partners work together, the whole system is stronger and its output is more robust. WEDC works with more than 600 partners across the state, including regional economic development organizations, academic institutions and industry clusters. In addition, WEDC focuses on five key Catalysts of Growth, which form the basis of our Strategic Pillars, to help activate and accelerate economic opportunity In Wisconsin®.

Strategic Economic Competitiveness

Encouraging innovation and fostering an environment of success for industry and its supporting workforce

Business Development

Leveraging strategic partnerships throughout the state to help Wisconsin companies start up, grow and reach new markets

Community and Economic Opportunity

Helping to improve quality of life through support for minority business growth and community development and revitalization efforts

Brand Development and Strategy

Raising awareness of Wisconsin’s many assets through powerful stories and achievements

Operational and Fiscal Excellence

Building confidence by setting strategic goals and maintaining a commitment to performance and accountability

7 Rivers Alliance

The 7 Rivers Alliance is a tri-state leadership council dedicated to regional economic growth by fostering collaboration in Southwest Wisconsin, Southeast Minnesota, and Northeast Iowa. The 7 Rivers Alliance brings together public and private resources to forge entrepreneurial growth and serves as a clearinghouse of vital information to enhance quality of life in the region.


Centergy is an economic development corporation representing central Wisconsin, an economically diverse region with a wide range of progressive, innovative businesses and industries — most notable are advanced manufacturing, emerging sustainable and bio-based technologies, and leading health care. Centegy values tradition, quality of life and safeguarding its region’s future. Because people in the region know how to enjoy life and because so many area businesses and organizations are engaged in highly sophisticated activities that serve the betterment of life, Centergy says its specialty is “Life. Science.”

Grow North

Grow North is dedicated to the economic development of the eight counties of Northcentral and Northeast Wisconsin. Grow North is investor/member driven by generous donations and sponsorship of events. Grow North’s strategic focus includes forestry and wood products, workforce development, and broadband expansion.

Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP)

MadREP is the lead economic development agency for the eight-county Madison Region with a vision to create a dynamic environment where people and businesses thrive. MadREP fills an important role in Wisconsin’s economic development landscape, serving as a partner and collaborator to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and other state agencies, as well as economic development initiatives within counties, municipalities, chambers of commerce, and the private sector.

Milwaukee 7

The Milwaukee 7 provides a regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. Its mission is to attract, retain and grow diverse businesses and talent. Together, these seven counties have a wealth of corporate headquarters, a pool of highly skilled workers and world-class amenities. Competing as a region broadens our range of choices and opportunities and gives The Milwaukee 7 the competitive edge that it needs today and into the future.

Momentum West

As a regional economic development organization, Momentum West is part of a rapidly changing economy that competes globally, transforms whole industries overnight and values talent and innovation as much as traditional economic development assets. Momentum West uses partnerships and leverages resources to implement shared strategies for growing the regional economy of west central Wisconsin.

New North

New North, Inc. fosters collaboration among private and public sector leaders throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin, known as the New North region. New North is a regional partner to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation as well as local economic development partners, and represents more than 100 private Investors. The New North brand unites the region both internally and externally around talent development, regional brand development, and business development, signifying the collective economic power behind the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin.

Prosperity Southwest

Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin is the region’s economic development organization, with a focus on business recruitment and retention for both small businesses and large industrial corporations. We are intent on strengthening the business climate and service industries in our region. Stronger economic development and greater quality of life in southwest Wisconsin through advanced manufacturing business services, progressive agriculture services and increased tourism are the focus of Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin.

Visions Northwest

Visions Northwest develops partnerships in economic development by serving as a unifying group to coordinate efforts throughout the region. Visions Northwest focuses on initiatives that improve the overall business climate within the Northwest Region of Wisconsin. Visions Northwest members represent county economic development, tribes, education, chambers of commerce, workforce development as well as the private and public sector.

Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP)

WMEP provides advisory and implementation services to Wisconsin small and midsize manufacturers in Eastern Wisconsin to implement Next Generation Manufacturing Strategies. In FY15, WMEP reached 556 companies with services resulting in $13.7 million in cost savings; $72.6 million in new sales; $129 million in retained sales; 184 jobs created; and 622 jobs retained.

UW-Stout/Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC)

MOC, a resource within the Discovery Center at UW-Stout, provides advisory and implementation services to Wisconsin small and midsize manufacturers in western Wisconsin to implement Next Generation Manufacturing Strategies. In F Y15, MOC reached 215 companies with services resulting in $3.8 million in cost savings; $2.5 million in investment in property and equipment; over $3 million in new sales; $900,000 in retained sales; 22 jobs created; and 28 jobs retained.

Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI)

WPI helps companies sell products and services to federal, state and local agencies as well as prime contractors. WPI navigates the government procurement process for small firms and helps them develop competitive processes and technical capabilities to earn federal contracts. In F Y15, WPI provided impactful assistance to 1,921 unique companies, helping them obtain $741 million in federal contracts, resulting in 266 jobs created and 1,189 retained.

Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC)

CTC services delivered by staff and a statewide network of partners include review and analysis of business models and commercialization plans; advice concerning patent, trademark and copyright issues; and assistance to businesses in obtaining federal SBIR/STTR grants. In F Y15, CTC provided counseling to 211 distinct business clients, activity which assisted in the creation of 27 new jobs and the retention of an additional seven. Note: In addition to this one-on-one assistance, CTC provides significant, in-depth consultation to numerous other businesses in its administration of WEDC’s Entrepreneurial Micro-grant Program, SBIR/STTR Matching Grant Program, and the Ideadvance Seed Fund, which is supported through WEDC’s Capital Catalyst Program. Outcomes of those activities are included within the respective program listings in this report.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)

WWBIC provides small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with an array of educational programming, individual consulting and micro-loan assistance. In F Y15, WWBIC provided 1,581 clients with impactful counseling services totaling over seven hours each. WWBIC’s micro-loan program provided nearly $5.6 million in loan financing to small businesses, including 49 startups. Of the total loan amount, over $1.1 million served businesses in rural Wisconsin. WWBIC’s assistance is expected to facilitate the creation of 253 new jobs and the retention of 353 positions.

Wisconsin Technology Council (WTC)

WTC contributes to the state’s high-tech and entrepreneurial economy through its policy work, hands-on work with investors and companies, educational forums and networking events. In F Y15, key WTC events included the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference and Early Stage Symposium, at which a combined 1100 attendees represented over 300 businesses, as well as investors, service providers and other professionals. In addition, the Wisconsin Technology Summit facilitated 175 meetings between 53 emerging companies and 16 major Wisconsin firms to explore potential partnerships. WTC’s Wisconsin Innovation Network led “Entrepreneurs’/Investors’ Edge” events throughout the year, including its “boot camp” for entrants in the annual Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which drew 237 distinct businesses.

Through the Wisconsin Angel Network housed within WTC, the organization held six educational seminars for angel investors throughout Wisconsin and is assisting ongoing efforts to develop additional angel investment groups in the state. WTC/WAN leadership met with more than 100 distinct companies to navigate channels for accessing investment capital.

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation

BrightStar is a 501(c)(3)-designated nonprofit foundation that manages an equity investment fund capitalized by private donations. BrightStar invests primarily in technology-based, high growth early-stage businesses to facilitate job creation and increase economic activity statewide. In F Y15, BrightStar made 17 investments totaling over $2 million in 15 early-stage companies.

Global Network of WEDC’S Authorized Trade Representatives (ATRS)

WEDC has ATRs located in high-volume and high-growth-potential markets for Wisconsin companies. In FY15, the Global Network covered 54 countries and consisted of 14 independent contractors, seven of which were under an umbrella contract managed by the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG). In F Y15, the Global Network provided 281 in-country assistances to 155 Wisconsin companies.

WEDC also works closely with a strong network of economic development partners that include regional planning commissions; regional and local economic development entities; state and federal agencies; industry groups and chambers of commerce. WEDC has formalized its collaboration with the University of Wisconsin System to align the economic development resources contained within our state universities. Such business development cooperation is intended to spur business growth throughout the state for years to come.