In recent years, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has seen a growing volume of startup activity. The city, which is home to the world headquarters of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and renowned academic institutions, is quickly becoming a growing innovation hub for a variety of industries, including aerospace and information technology.
To help fuel this activity, the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation (GO-EDC) is launching a new fund to help area entrepreneurs turn their big ideas into reality. The Greater Oshkosh Capital Catalyst Fund was created with a $125,000 investment from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Capital Catalyst Program and a matching $125,000 investment from the City of Oshkosh. It will award companies anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 in the form of loans, grants and equity positions, depending on the company’s needs.
Companies that receive funding are obligated to remain in the greater Oshkosh area while paying back the loan, thus ensuring the investment benefits the area. It is GO-EDC’s hope that the program will evolve into an evergreen fund, with the interest on its loans helping to support more startups and multiply the fund’s potential impact.
The program is especially important for the Oshkosh area since no loan programs currently exist for new companies, only for those that have been in business for two or more years. And while the program is open to many industries, it is especially well-suited for companies in sectors for which the area is known, including aerospace and aviation, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and food processing, IT and software development, medical devices and research, biology and energy.
The Greater Oshkosh Capital Catalyst Fund is currently accepting applications. More information about the program can be found on the fund’s website.