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Q&A with Frank Staniszewski, Madison Development Corporation


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Q&A with Frank Staniszewski, Madison Development Corporation

With the goal of promoting quality self-sustaining jobs by providing loans to small businesses and innovative entrepreneurial efforts, Madison Development Corporation’s (MDC’s) lending arm has helped finance a number of Madison businesses, including Willy Street Co-Op, Barrymore Theater and Union Cab. We recently talked with Frank Staniszewski, president of MDC, who told us more about the organization’s operations.

Q: What is Madison Development Corporation?

A: Madison Development Corporation is a local nonprofit development company, operating only in the City of Madison and Dane County. We have been in operation since 1978, providing assistance – with a primary focus on debt financing – to hard-to-finance small businesses throughout Dane County. We have made hundreds of loans during this time, helping create thousands of new jobs.

Q: What is the primary goal of MDC’s business lending programs?

A: MDC’s primary mission is job creation and economic diversification. We work toward this goal by helping hard-to-finance businesses with our own direct loans and participating loans with partners.

Q: Who is eligible to receive assistance?

A: Any small business within Dane County is eligible. We do have a City of Madison Community Development Block Grant-funded program that can only assist businesses in Madison as well.  Businesses must not be able to get sufficient funds from other private sources, and under most programs, we require the businesses to create and hire new jobs. Our City-funded program requires one new job for each $35,000 borrowed. Other programs have more flexibility, but new jobs are always a key factor.  We also like to see most jobs available to people at low or moderate incomes to start, with career ladders for advancement, quality wage rates and benefits. We can loan to startups, as well as growth companies.

Q: What kind of companies do you usually loan to?

A: We can loan to most kinds of companies, but focus on those that sell goods or services outside of the local community, thus bringing revenue and economic benefit into Dane County. We still do loan to businesses with local markets, but funds for those are limited. We have a separate program called “Venture Debt” that is specifically targeted to high-growth companies, which are generally technology-based. Demand for this fund has exploded in the last several years as this sector in Madison and Dane County has gained momentum.

Q: How can companies apply for assistance?

A: Visit our website at or call our vice president for lending, David Scholtens, at 608.256.2799 Ext. 213.  Businesses can find sample formats on our website, but general financial presentation formats are usually acceptable to us. If a business has applied for financing at a private commercial lender, the material they submitted to the lender is generally fine for our use as well. Many clients are also referred to us by local lenders, as well as by WEDC staff.

Q: What other aspect of MDC funding is helpful to businesses in Dane County?

A: We are happy to partner with other financing sources such as WEDC, local private lenders and – often with our Venture Debt funding – with local and other angel investors or networks.