New entrepreneurship grant program draws widespread interest around the state

WEDC receives 32 applications for initiatives to provide support to Wisconsin entrepreneurs; awards to be announced in January

Published Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced today that it received 32 applications for its new Entrepreneurship Support pilot program, which is designed to advance the climate for entrepreneurship throughout the state.


The pilot program, announced in September, will provide grants between $10,000 and $100,000 to nonprofit organizations and communities for activities and projects that promote entrepreneurship and deliver key services and resources to Wisconsin entrepreneurs.


“WEDC was pleased by the number of responses we received and the quality of the applications,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for WEDC. “We heard from organizations large and small from every region of the state, which is exactly what we were hoping for.”


WEDC expects to award grants to 11 organizations, and the recipients will be announced in early January.


While WEDC has a variety of programs to support the formation, development, growth and financing of technology-based and growth-oriented startup and early-stage businesses, the new initiative provides funding to organizations and communities whose efforts may not meet the eligibility criteria for existing programs.


Hagar said one of the goals of the program is to help fill a gap that may exist in rural and midsize communities throughout the state and to foster more collaboration among organizations with similar goals. That level of collaboration was evident in the applications received by WEDC, he said.


The $500,000 competitive program provides grants that must be matched by the applicant. Funding can be used for personnel, professional services and materials directly related to the project, and may not be used for land, facility costs or equipment. Projects supported by the program must take place in 2017.

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