New grant program designed to test innovative ideas
MADISON, WI. SEPT. 27, 2021 – A new grant program will allow the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to fund organizations creating innovative new programs to support entrepreneurs.
Groups working on pilot projects and new ways to support entrepreneurs have until Oct. 29 to apply for the competitive Entrepreneurship Partner Grant. These grants, up to $50,000, are designed to help organizations test and develop entrepreneurship support programs – anything from education to technical assistance and more.
“We know that starting a business is a challenge,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “We also know that investing in a culture of innovation and support for entrepreneurs – particularly people of color, women, LGBT individuals and those in rural areas who have not been served by other programs – pays off in new opportunities for all.”
The Entrepreneurship Partner Grants have two tracks and are designed to replace WEDC’s popular and competitive Entrepreneurship Support Grants.
“What we were finding is that so many mature and wonderful programs for entrepreneurs were applying for these grants that it was very difficult for the awards committee to pass over these programs in order to fund some innovative but unproven programs that were just getting started,” Hughes said. “The new Entrepreneurship Partner Grants create a competitive grant program that will give new and pilot projects a chance at winning some funding and let organizations test new ideas. The non-competitive portion of the program allows mature programs to continue to apply for support.”
From Oct. 4 to Oct. 29, new programs and pilot projects that serve entrepreneurs may apply for the competitive partner grants. Applicants will be judged on how their program creates entrepreneurial growth across the state and the impact on underserved communities. Grants will generally range from $10,000 to $50,000. It’s expected that about 10 organizations will receive these grants this year.
Established programs, such as seed accelerators, and programs that have been funded before may apply for the open Entrepreneurship Partner Grants annually. These grants require the applicant have a record of success working with entrepreneurs. Organizations may apply throughout the year as long as funding is available. The maximum grant is generally $200,000.
For fiscal year 2022 about $2 million is budgeted for the Entrepreneurship Partner Grants.
To apply for the grants and learn more about the program, go to: wedc.org/programs-and-resources/entrepreneurship-partner-grant