Entrepreneurial Micro-Grants

Program Goal:

The goal of the Entrepreneurial Micro-Grant (EMG) Program is to support business planning and strategy for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the state of Wisconsin.

This program primarily supports the following WEDC Strategic Pillar and Focus Area:

Business Development: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Program Description:

The EMG Program provides early-stage technology-based companies with services and funding to support their efforts in obtaining significant federal grant funding. Additionally, Business Planning services rendered by the SBDCs increase the entrepreneurial proficiency of the state entrepreneurs and small business owners.

WEDC provides funding to the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) to deliver micro-grants to clients for the services below:

  • Small Business lnnovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Assistance program, providing up to $1,500 for a feasibility discussion with program manager and development of specific aims, milestones and project plan; and up to $3,000 for assistance to prepare and submit an SBIR/STTR or other federal funding proposal. Applicants awarded federal funding may receive an additional $1000 funding bonus through the program.
  • Commercialization Planning Assistance, providing individual and small business applicants up to $1,500 for assistance in completing business validation activities; and up to $3,000 for assistance in completing a comprehensive business plan or commercialization plan to procure Phase ll SBIR/STTR funding or to prepare for angel or venture capital funding. Applicants must utilize an eligible professional services provider.
  • Entrepreneurial Training Program, providing a grant of up to $750 to entrepreneurs upon successful completion of start-up coursework provided by the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) in the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Eligible applicants must provide at least a $250 match. Eligible coursework may focus on either business modeling or business planning.

Eligibility Requirements:

To administer the EMG Program, CTC must continue to demonstrate the expertise and capability of serving a statewide network of entrepreneurs.

The SBIR/STTR Assistance and Commercialization Planning Assistance micro-grants are available to those starting or expanding a technology-based or research-oriented business or to firms located in Wisconsin that rely on the use of technology. Eligible projects include:

  • Development of an SBIR/STTR Phase I or Phase II proposal or other federal funding proposal;
  • Development of an SBIR/STTR Phase II Commercialization Plan or a comprehensive business plan; or
  • Procurement of a CTC-approved market research study in support of a commercialization or business plan.

The Entrepreneurship Training Program is an 8- to 12-week course offered periodically by SBDCs that provides assistance with business plan development to current or prospective business owners.

Incentives and Available Funding (FY17): $200,000

The incentives in this program are grants to eligible entities to provide micro-grants to companies for commercialization assistance, training or research, and tech transfer.

Activities and Expected Outcomes:

Award one organization to support 125 businesses.

Performance Reporting:

The recipient will be required to quarterly submit a performance report documenting the assistance provided through the SBIR/STTR, Commercialization Planning Assistance and Entrepreneurial Training Program grants and the number of businesses assisted, as well as any other contract deliverable.

WEDC may impose additional reporting requirements to evaluate project performance and to ensure compliance with contract deliverables.

Application and Awards Process:

CTC meets with WEDC to review capacity, expertise and past performance; discuss future opportunities; develop a list of deliverables; and discuss funding. The proposal must advance the mission to promote entrepreneurship and small business owners. The application will be assigned to an underwriter and go through the award review process.

For more information on application review, internal process, and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.

Applicants for SBIR/STTR Assistance and Commercialization Planning Assistance complete an online application at wisconsinsbir.org.

Entrepreneurship Training Program schedules vary but are promoted by the SBDC on their website www.wisconsinsbdc.org and other outreach efforts.

For more information on application review, internal process and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.