Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
December 2004
Commerce Unveils Technology Commercialization Programs

Technology-based economic development is one of the key elements of Governor Jim Doyle's "Grow Wisconsin" initiative. Wisconsin has new tax credit, grant, and loan programs to assist high-potential technology businesses.

Technological entrepreneurship requires financial assistance at various stages of product development. Recognizing this, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce has tailored a variety of funding programs for businesses and investors. Recent legislation, Act 255, established the following programs:

Tax Credits for Angel Investors& Venture Capital Seed Funds
These programs offer Wisconsin income tax credits to angel investors and investors in seed-stage venture capital funds. Tax credits are available only for investments made in early stage technology businesses certified by the Department of Commerce.

Technology Assistance Grants (TAG)
The TAG program provides grants for early-stage Wisconsin high-technology companies to offset some of the costs of hiring qualified, independent third parties to perform services that assist businesses in securing private or federal funding.

Technology Bridge Grants
These grants provide funding to small businesses that have received federal Phase I R&D awards and are struggling to maintain operation while they await a Phase II or other federal follow-on funding decision. Funds may only be applied to reasonable and necessary costs directly attributable to maintaining the research team and funding basic operations until the applicant's follow-on funding or federal grant application is approved or denied. Only those companies that can demonstrate severe financial hardship will be considered for bridge grant funds.

Federal Matching Grants
This program provides state dollars to enhance a company's federal funding application (i.e., match needed to secure a Phase II SBIR or Advanced Technology Program award). Applicants approved under this program will not actually receive funding until approval of their federal application. Phase I applications are not eligible for funding under this program.

Technology Venture Fund Loans
This fund provides low-interest loans to Wisconsin high-technology companies to facilitate the search for angel or other seed capital investment.

These new programs complement two existing Department of Commerce programs:

Technology Development Fund
This program offers low-interest loans to help Wisconsin businesses develop new technology.

Technology Development Loans
These low-interest loans are designed to assist businesses commercialize new technology.

Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network logoThe Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN) is a collaborative effort between the Department of Commerce, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Technical College System, WiSys Technology Foundation and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. It includes 25 strategically located intake centers, four regional technology transfer centers and 26 agricultural counselors.

Beginning in spring of 2005, (WEN) will work statewide with entrepreneurs and businesses in all industries and stages of development.

WEN will provide business planning and access to capital and finance assistance, as well as assistance with intellectual property and technology transfer issues. It will leverage existing public resources and those available in the marketplace and help high-potential companies take their businesses to the next level. The network is expected to assist more than 10,000 clients during its first year, helping to contribute more than $500 million to the state's economy.

For information about the Angel Investor and the Venture Capital Seed Fund Tax Credit programs, contact:

Amy Cumblad

For information about Technology Assistance Grants, Technology Bridge Grants, Federal Matching Grants, Technology Venture Fund Loans, Technology Development Fund or Technology Development Loans, contact:

Cheryl Gain
commerce.wi.gov/BD/MT-FAX-0803.html (Technology Development Fund)
commerce.wi.gov/BD/MT-FAX-0812.html (Technology Development Loan)

For information about the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network, contact:

Pam Christenson

Read the Act 255 Emergency Rules (70KB doc).

--Todd Jensen

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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