NEW and Especially for Entrepreneurs

Governor Doyle’s Grow Wisconsin strategy continues to usher in a slate of new resources for Wisconsin entrepreneurs.

The Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Network (WEN) harnesses service organizations that provide targeted assistance and critical connections to start-up ventures everywhere in Wisconsin. WEN professionals are now a first point of contact to help entrepreneurs navigate the necessary stages of business inception, launch, and growth. WEN provides a range of assistance, from short courses, to just-in-time training, to one-on-one counseling services. WEN also administers several small grant programs that enable entrepreneurs to develop a comprehensive business plan or access federal R&D funding such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. WEN can help get your business positioned for bank and investor financing, and to take that step to the next level of sales and profits.

A suite of Technology Commercialization Financing Programs, now available through the Wisconsin Department of Commerce (Commerce), help accelerate promising new innovation into the marketplace. This includes financing for research and development activities, as well as the Technology Venture Loan that provides low-interest loans to supplement investor capital. In addition, the Early-Stage Investment Tax Credit Program addresses the vitality of Wisconsin’s private equity market. Accredited angel investors or qualified venture funds can claim a 25% Wisconsin income tax credit on eligible investments made in companies designated as Qualified New Business Ventures. Commerce certifies both business ventures and investors. To be certified as a QNBV, a new venture must be in an R&D phase developing a new technology for commercial application.

The Wisconsin Angel Network (WAN), operated by the Wisconsin Technology Council with Commerce support, stimulates private-equity deal flow. Through a secure web site, WAN provides a deal flow pipeline linking entrepreneurs seeking growth capital with members of active Wisconsin angel networks and venture capital firms. WAN now offers an ePlan service, to video record capital-seeking presentations for a wide investor audience. And, WAN trains and assists in the formation of angel networks in Wisconsin.

Targeted entrepreneurial networking opportunities have also increased. The Wisconsin PeerSpectives Network, a joint effort of Commerce and the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, operates confidential problem-solving roundtables led by trained facilitators for executives of second-stage companies.

And, the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) has expanded it monthly information events for entrepreneurs into the Fox River Valley, Chippewa Valley, and Lake Superior regions of Wisconsin—adding to the WIN chapters already active in Madison and Milwaukee. WIN and the Wisconsin Technology Council also sponsor a statewide Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference each June (focusing on best practices in entrepreneurship) and an Early Stage Symposium each autumn (to help growth companies prepare for R&D capital and investment).

For more information on each of these valuable resources, go to: