Entrepreneurship and innovation are essential to Wisconsin’s overall economic growth. Recognizing this, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has created a new pilot program to support entrepreneurship and bridge gaps that may hold startups back.

The new Entrepreneurship Support pilot program offers funding to nonprofit organizations and communities to support activities and resources that promote entrepreneurship throughout the state. Projects and activities eligible for pilot funding include entrepreneurial education, mentorship and training, promotion of entrepreneurship or business development, and financial services. The program is the latest in WEDC’s suite of entrepreneurship resources, which also include support for startup accelerators, seed capital funds, investment tax credits and technology development loans.

The Entrepreneurship Support pilot program will build on WEDC’s existing support and engagement with a statewide network of partners that offer business training, mentorship and financing to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“The program is intended to bring new services to regions where there are clear gaps, and to increase the impact of services where they are available,” said Aaron Hagar, WEDC vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation. “One common theme across research on this topic is that the strongest entrepreneurial communities are the ones that maximize connectivity among both entrepreneurs and service providers. We’re looking for projects that reflect that spirit of collaboration.”

The program will provide grants in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, and applicants must commit to matching the grant amount requested. Funding may be used for personnel, professional services and materials relating directly to the project. To qualify for funding, project activities must take place during the 2017 calendar year.

Applications will be evaluated based on applicant capability, project feasibility and alignment, financial need, collaboration and potential impact. Learn more about the program and apply before Oct. 31, 2016, by visiting the Entrepreneurship Support pilot program page.