From small-town boutiques to high-tech health care companies, entrepreneurs and the companies they create are vital to the success of Wisconsin’s economy. However, to cultivate a thriving startup ecosystem, attention is required not just on the state level but the local level. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) new Entrepreneurship Support pilot program offers support for those local entrepreneurial communities around the state.

The grants provide funding and other resources to organizations to develop or expand programming that promotes entrepreneurship, offers business education, creates mentorship networks or provides business development and financial services.

WEDC announced the inaugural recipients of the grants last week, with 11 communities and organizations from all corners of the state being recognized.

The grant recipients include:

  • Center for Enterprise Development Inc. of Fond du Lac received $40,000 to create a new certification and grant program for greater Fond du Lac County.
  • Couleecap Inc. of La Crosse received $53,676 to host a nine-week entrepreneurial course for startups, as well as support Viroqua’s “Pop-Up Shop” program and train course instructors to expand programming in the area.
  • Indianhead Community Action Agency of Ladysmith received $43,646 to expand its resources to two additional counties and expand its Small Business Academy.
  • Janesville Innovation Inc. of Janesville received $66,062 to develop a coalition to serve entrepreneurs and accelerate business growth in Rock County.
  • Milwaukee 7 of Milwaukee received $60,000 to expand its entrepreneurial programming and create a strategic entrepreneurial initiative for the region.
  • Nicolet Area Technical College of Rhinelander received $27,000 to grow its entrepreneurial training, mentorship and support in six northern Wisconsin counties.
  • Oconto County Economic Development Corporation of Oconto received $25,000 to create a mentor network and ongoing business coaching to support a new startup strategy for the area.
  • UW-Madison Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic of Madison received $75,000 to increase the free legal resources it provides to entrepreneurs statewide.
  • UW-Stout Center for Innovation and Development of Menomonie received $60,000 to fund a statewide program that evaluates entrepreneurs’ business ideas for feasibility and market potential.
  • Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation of Madison received $15,000 to expand its UpStart program, which supports entrepreneurship among minorities and women.
  • UWM Research Foundation of Milwaukee received $33,000 to create a new program to develop and support innovative health care ventures in Wisconsin.

Learn more about the Entrepreneurship Support grants and other resources for entrepreneurs in Wisconsin.