Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
November 2003
Division of Economic Development Reorganized

Secretary Cory L. Nettles recently announced the reorganization of the Division of Economic Development. This reorganization should help Commerce operate more efficiently and more effectively in this time of scarce state resources.

The reorganization:

  • Renames the division the Division of Business Development;
  • Creates a new Bureau of Entrepreneurship;
  • Consolidates the Bureaus of Business Development and Business Finance; and
  • Transfers the Bureau of Manufacturing Assessment to the Division of Safety and Buildings.

Renames the Division
The entire department is in the business of economic development. The new name more accurately reflects the mission of the division and its focus on private-sector companies.

Creates a New Bureau of Entrepreneurship
Wisconsin needs more entrepreneurs to build the next generation of employers, and Gov. Doyle has made the promotion of entrepreneurship one of the focuses of his Grow Wisconsin initiative. As a result, Commerce has created a Bureau of Entrepreneurship to house the Departmentís initiatives to nurture high-potential entrepreneurial companies and to help small businesses, entrepreneurial or otherwise, navigate state and federal regulations. The bureau will:

  • Conduct outreach to emerging technology companies in the state, serving as a conduit between them and state, federal, and private sector resources, including those offered by Commerce.
  • Operate an expanded program to help Wisconsin firms win federal research grants such as those offered through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.
  • Help small, often entrepreneurial, Wisconsin businesses locate resources and navigate the state bureaucracy though the existing small business help line, expanded Internet resources, and direct case work.
  • Help self-identified clusters of high-potential businesses conduct joint activities.

Consolidates the Bureaus of Business Development and Business Finance
These two bureaus work hand-in-glove on almost all development projects that come before the agency. Both have experienced significant staff reductions, and consolidating them will reduce overhead and promote operational efficiency.

Transfers the Bureau of Manufacturing Assessment to the Division of Safety and Buildings
This bureau, formerly part of the Division of Marketing, administers the WiSCon program, which offers safety consultation services to Wisconsin companies under contract with OSHA. Since the Division of Safety and Buildings offers similar consultation services to public sector entities in Wisconsin, the bureau will be transferred to the Division of Safety and Buildings.

--Shelly Harkins

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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