Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
June 2005
Wisconsin's Economy: New Strategies for Economic Development

In† September 2003, Gov. Jim Doyle announced his Grow Wisconsin plan designed to revitalize all sectors of our economy and position Wisconsin to compete at the high end.† His plan focused on four critical areas:

Commerce Secretary Mary P. Burke
Commerce Secretary Mary P. Burke
  • Fostering a competitive business climate
  • Investing in people to help families climb the economic ladder
  • Investing in Wisconsin businesses to encourage job creation
  • Streamlining government regulatory processes

Through this initiative, Gov. Doyle has invested in our industries and our workforce by eliminating the tax on creating jobs, helping manufacturers offset the cost of energy, and implementing the most aggressive regulatory reform in the Midwest.

These efforts are starting to pay off.† In the past 12 months, we have outpaced most of our Midwestern neighbors by creating more than 31,100 jobs.† This certainly shows that Wisconsin is back on track, but there is still room for improvement.

My goal is to build on this good work by using Commerce programs and services to help Wisconsin businesses innovate, compete in the global economy, and create family-supporting jobs. As of two years ago, Wisconsin ranked 46th in the country in terms of new business formation per capita. Yet statistics show that 80 percent of all jobs created in the U.S. are by companies with less than 50 employees and half of those have been in business less than five years.† It is necessary for Wisconsin to create new companies and grow our small ones.

There are two new Commerce programs that will greatly assist entrepreneurs and help grow small businesses. † The Wisconsin Entrepreneursí Network, launched June 1, will help entrepreneurs find resources, education, and support systems to turn their great ideas into viable, job-creating businesses. The network is housed in regional centers located at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.†In addition, we have new programs to encourage private investors to provide seed funding for early stage companies by offering Wisconsin income tax credits to the investors. Tax credits are available only for investments made in early-stage technology businesses that are certified by the Department of Commerce.† We have already certified 22 businesses for these investments.

The most important thing that existing companies can do to grow is focus on innovation.† Innovation not only encompasses product development, but also includes company processes.† All companies need to examine what they can do and how they can do it better. Any business can apply new technology to its products and processes.† Businesses should look to streamlining production by making it leaner and investing in product development.

Training can help companies develop innovative processes.† That's why Gov. Doyle submitted two budget proposals to further economic development through worker training and economic development assistance. A $5 million worker training initiative will pay the training costs for businesses that create significant numbers of new jobs, invest in new equipment, or provide higher wages.† The governor has also proposed a $5 million program to attract businesses to communities with high unemployment rates.† Eligible businesses can receive grants for up to five years to help cover worker training, employee transportation, onsite childcare, and utilities.

In summary, Commerce offers a wide range of programs for business development assistance. We have area development managers serving each region of Wisconsin who can work directly with businesses and communities. To find the area development manager in your region, go to www.commerce.wi.gov/BD/MT-FAX-0901.html.†† I look forward helping businesses start, expand and create jobs all across Wisconsin.

-- Mary P. Burke, Secretary

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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