Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
September 2003
Business Financing Programs

Commerce offers financing programs to meet a variety of business needs. Programs can be categorized in four distinct areas: Entrepreneurial Development, Capital Finance, Technology Development, and Employee Training. Contact the ADM in your region for more information on these programs. You can also find information on Commerce business finance programs by choosing Business on the home page at www.commerce.state.wi.us.

Entrepreneurial Development
In recognition of the importance of a sound business plan, Commerce offers an Early Planning Grant (EPG) program that provides grants to entrepreneurs and small businesses to help offset a portion of the cost of hiring an independent third party to develop a comprehensive business plan.

For entrepreneurs that would rather prepare their business plan in a more formal setting. Commerce also offers the Entrepreneurial Training Grant (ETG) program. Under this program, applicants are provided with a grant to cover up to 75 percent of the tuition costs associated with enrolling in an approved course at their local UW-Extension Small Business Development Center (SBDC). This program represents a partnership between the SBDC and Commerce and was developed in recognition of the need to support all types of entrepreneurial development. Participants will be provided instruction on how to prepare a comprehensive business plan. The goal is for participants to "graduate" with a professional plan that can be used to pursue start-up capital.

Capital Financing
Commerce's capital finance programs offer below-market-rate financing (typically 4 percent) to businesses that are willing to make a firm commitment to invest in Wisconsin. Notwithstanding the attractiveness of the interest rate, it should be noted that Commerce is not a primary lender. In fact, given its limited financial resources, Commerce works closely with eligible businesses and their private sector lenders to minimize the amount of public funds necessary to make a project go forward. Commerce also administers tax-credit and industrial revenue bond programs to assist capital expansion projects.

Technology Development
Commerce recognizes the need for Wisconsin businesses to stay on the forefront of technological innovation. To assist in this process, Commerce offers a Technology Development program that is designed to assist businesses and entrepreneurs that are researching new technologies, products or manufacturing processes that, if successful, could have a significant impact upon Wisconsin's economy. This loan program is designed as a cost-sharing program with flexible repayment terms that are keyed to the success of the particular research project. Technology companies can also earn tax credits by starting up, expanding or locating in one of Wisconsinís eight Technology Zones.

Employee Training
In keeping with Commerce's long held belief that Wisconsinís most important asset is its people, Commerce offers training programs that are designed to enhance the skills and abilities of its workforce. Offered in the form of a matching grant, the Customized Labor Training program has historically been driven by a company's commitment to reinvest in new technologies that necessitate the need for training. In addition to the CLT program, Commerce also offers the BEST Program, which is specifically designed to meet the wide variety of training needs of Wisconsin's small businesses.

--Shelly Harkins

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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