Finding Money

Financial Resources Fact Sheets

Grant Programs

  • Agricultural Diversification. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection operates the Agricultural Development and Diversification (ADD) Grant Program. These annual grants (up to $50,000) fund projects that are likely to stimulate Wisconsin's farm economy with new production or marketing techniques, alternative crops or enterprises, new value-added products, or new market research. Visit
  • Wisconsin Focus on Energy periodically puts out Requests for Proposal on topics related to renewable energy and environmental conservation. For more information, visit:
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance gives a complete listing of federal grant programs for individuals and businesses. To access this catalog, go to

Small Business Loans and Guarantees

  • Small Business Administration (SBA)

    The SBA does not directly provide grants or loans, but does guarantee business loans made by banks. These loan guarantees assure that, if the borrower defaults, the government will reimburse the lender for the guaranteed portion of the loan. The SBA loan guarantee programs enable banks to extend financing that might not otherwise be available. The SBA also oversees a 504 Loan Program, administered through Certified Development Companies, that funds the purchase of land, building, and equipment in business expansion. For more information and a list of Wisconsin Certified Development Companies, go to the SBA web site (click on <Financing>) or talk to your bank about using an SBA loan guarantee to reduce the risk of a business loan.
  • Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)

    WWBIC, with offices in Madison and Milwaukee, offers pre-loan business assistance and micro-loans to small businesses having difficulty obtaining bank financing. This financing is not limited to women-owned businesses. The maximum loan amount is $35,000. For more information, visit the web site or contact
  • Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)
    WHEDA operates three programs of particular interest to entrepreneurs. The Agribusiness Loan helps new or existing businesses obtain financing on favorable terms to produce products using Wisconsin’s raw agricultural commodities. The Link Deposit Loan provides an interest rate subsidy on lender financing to women or minorities for business start-up or expansion. The Small Business Guarantee helps borrowers obtain financing on favorable terms for rural start-up and daycare businesses. For more information, go to the web site, email WHEDA at, or call 1-800-334-6873.
  • Impact Seven
    Impact Seven, a statewide community development corporation, has assembled a group of revolving loan funds to create the Greater Wisconsin Fund. This fund is designed to assist business start-ups or expansion in Wisconsin communities. For more information, call 608-251-8450 or go to the Impact Seven web site.
  • Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP)
    WISCAP offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) which are dedicated savings accounts opened at participating financial institutions by eligible, working, low-income persons. Deposits make into the IDA are matched on a 2:1 basis. Persons may deposit up to $1,000 of their earnings to their IDA within a two-year period and receive a maximum match of $2,000. Starting a small business is an eligible investment.
  • Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Personal Loan Program (WDVA)
    WDVA offers personal loans for veterans of up to $25,000 at low interest rates and 10-year terms, which may be used to finance the purchase of a business or business property. Visit the WDVA web site or call 1-800-947-8387.
  • Count-Me-In
    Count-Me-In is a nationwide micro-lender for women-owned businesses seeking their first business loan. Visit the web site, which also provides access to financial networks, consultation, and education for women-owned businesses.

Local Revolving Loan Funds

  • Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) - PDF Document
    Many communities and counties throughout Wisconsin operate revolving loan funds for businesses starting or expanding within their boundaries. For a statewide list of RLFs, open this document:

Technology Development Financing

  • Federal Technology Funding Guide: 2004 Larta's Federal Technology Funding Guide is recognized as the nation's leading survey on federal government technology funding. Learn how to apply for and win government technology-development grants. Review and download this 233-page report at:
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs operated by select federal agencies provide R&D funding for U.S. small businesses. More than $1.5 billion is available annually to fund the development of innovations and technologies of designated national interest. To find out more, open: the SBIR fact sheet - PDF Document
  • State Technology Business Financing. The Wisconsin Department of Commerce operates two low-interest loan programs for technology business development. The Technology Development Fund (TDF) helps finance R&D activities that will have economic impact in Wisconsin. The Technology Development Loan (TDL) helps finance costs of technology commercialization and business expansion. The state’s Technology Zone Program provides tax incentives to new or expanding businesses involved in Wisconsin’s high-technology sectors. For more information, contact Cheryl Gain, Technology Development Consultant (608-261-7721 or or visit For information on your region’s Technology Zone Program, visit
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison awards grants to help commercialize R&D originating on campus and to further university-industry collaborations for technology transfer. To find out more, contact the Office of Corporate Relations (phone: 1-877-627-9472 or go to

Rural Funding

  • Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation. The Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation (WBIC), created in 1996, encourages the development of technology-based companies in rural Wisconsin. WBIC provides access to both debt and equity financing. Contact Mark Mueller at
  • State Rural Funding. The Wisconsin Department of Commerce operates two programs for rural entrepreneurs. The Agriculture Development Zone (ADZ) Program provides tax incentives to new or expanding businesses involved in Wisconsin’s agricultural sector. The Rural Economic Development Program provides working capital or fixed asset financing for businesses with less than 50 employees located in a city, town or village with 6,000 people or less, or located in a county with a population density of less than 150 persons per square mile. For more information, visit the Commerce web site

Angel Investing

  • “Angels” are individuals of high net worth who invest in privately held companies. Along with family and friends, angels often participate in the early rounds of financing a growth business—typically preceding venture capital. Angels tend to invest smaller dollar amounts than venture capitalists, often prefer to invest “close to home”, and are generally approached through social contacts and gatekeepers such as attorneys and CPAs. “Angel networks” bring together private investors in a geographical area to evaluate business deals and make investments. Angel networks vary in their organizational structures, due diligence and deal-making procedures. Some angel networks focus their investments in specific technology areas or industry sectors because of investor expertise. Angel networks require submission of a current business plan for investor review. For information on regional angel networks, visit:

Venture Capital and Investment Banking

  • Wisconsin Venture Capital Companies and Investment Banks.
    Venture capital companies are pools of capital managed by professional fund managers who invest in growth companies expected earn a desired (usually high) rate of return and achieve multi-million-dollar sales goals. Investment Banks provide a range of equity capital services. For more information and contacts to venture capital companies and investment banks with operations in Wisconsin, open: Venture Capital Resources - PDF
  • Wisconsin Life Sciences Venture Conference
    This annual capital matchmaking event for life science growth companies is held each autumn. Companies apply to make investor presentations in late summer. For more information, visit or contact Tom Still, phone: 608-442-7557.
  • National Venture Capital Association
    The National Venture Capital Association sponsors training and matchmaking events for investors and entrepreneurs, and posts information on the venture capital industry.
  • Money Tree Survey

    PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics, and the National Venture Capital Association publish the quarterly Money Tree Survey on venture capital investing trends nationwide.
  • Thomson Venture Economics

    Thomson Venture Economics publishes benchmark reports on venture capital investment globally, and provides access to ordering investment publications and national directories, including Pratts Guide to Private Equity Sources and Directory of Limited Partners.