Early stage program helps 50 companies leverage $44 million investment

MADISON, November 15, 2012 – Wisconsin’s Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) program helped 50 early-stage companies leverage more than $44 million in outside investment in 2011, according to a report released by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The program, also known as the Act 255 program, has helped create more than 1,100 jobs in the last six years, stimulating Wisconsin’s economy.

(Click here to read the entire Act 255: Early Stage Business Investment Program 2012)

“This program is a winner for Wisconsin because it helps spur private seed and early-stage funding into new businesses in the state – the lifeblood of long-term job growth,” said Governor Scott Walker. “The QNBV program continues to help new companies leverage private investment capital to accelerate their potential for growth and job creation in Wisconsin.”

The QNBV program makes investors eligible for a 25 percent tax credit on the amount they invest in a business that WEDC certifies for QNBV status. This includes private, angel and venture capital investors.

The WEDC reported that $11.17 million in tax credits were verified for 50 companies in 2011 for $44.68 million of private investment that was made by investors in those companies.

An additional $74.02 million of private capital, not eligible for tax credits, was invested in 77 certified businesses, for a total of $118.7 million private capital that was invested in these early-stage companies 2011. Those companies also leveraged $33.2 million in federal grants.

Since the program’s inception in 2005, 216 companies have been certified through the QNBV program, leveraging $637 million in private investments. Over the last six years, a total of $46.4 million in tax credits have been verified for $185.6 million invested in those certified companies. Among those companies still certified as QNBV businesses, the report showed that the program has helped create 1,112 Wisconsin jobs.

“We know this number is actually much higher because successful companies eventually ‘graduate’ from the program,” said Lisa Johnson, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation with WEDC. “Some of those companies have more than 100 employees with an average salary of $76,500 per year.”

Johnson said this tax credit program was one of the first programs of its kind in the nation designed to drive equity investment to early-stage businesses with the potential for significant economic impact and job growth. The program has been a model for similar programs in a number of other states, most notably Wisconsin’s neighboring states of Minnesota and Illinois.

WEDC’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Division is building upon this program’s legacy of success, pursuing its goal of increasing the number of entrepreneurs successfully starting business in the state.

2011 Report Highlights

  • 50 companies received investments that qualified for QNBV credits
  • $11.17 million in tax credits were verified for $44.68 million that were invested by angel and venture capital investors in those 50 companies
  • $118,748,808 in private investments were made in a total of 77 certified companies

2005-2011 Program Highlights

  • 216  companies have been certified for QNBV status
  • $46.4 million in tax credits have been verified for the $185.6 million invested by angel and venture capital investors
  • $637 million in private investments have been made in the 216 companies since 2005
  • QNBV investment recipients have created at least 1,112 jobs in Wisconsin      (potentially many more) with average salaries of $76,500 per year.

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), formed in 2011 as a public-private entity, leads economic development efforts for the state and nurtures business growth and job creation by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. In addition to Wisconsin’s strong legacy industries of agriculture and manufacturing, recent growth has occurred in water technology, renewable energy, bio-sciences, health care, and food processing. In 2012 Wisconsin was ranked No. 20 in Chief Executive Magazine’s “Best States for Business” and No. 17 as a top state for business by CNBC. WEDC partners with 650 economic development organizations throughout Wisconsin to serve businesses looking to start, grow or relocate. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation, and international business development. Visit inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.

###