Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
February 2006
Upcoming Transfer of Commerce's Early Planning Grant (EPG) Programs to Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN)

Entrepreneurial development is one of the key elements of Governor Jim Doyle's Grow Wisconsin strategy. In keeping with that strategy, Commerce has various Early Planning Grant (EPG) programs which are designed to help entrepreneurs throughout Wisconsin obtain the professional services necessary to evaluate a proposed start up or expansion or apply for federal funding. Utilization of these programs allows the entrepreneur to formalize his or her goals and objectives and develop a stronger base of business skills, as well as being critical to the entrepreneur's ability to attract the capital financing necessary to make the plan a reality. A grant of up to $3,000 may be provided to help cover a portion of the cost of hiring a qualified, independent third party to perform these services.

The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN) is another Grow Wisconsin initiative.  This network, which began operations in June,  provides comprehensive geographic coverage across Wisconsin and a "one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs. WEN is a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin- Extension, the Wisconsin Technical College System, WiSys Technology Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection and includes four regional centers located statewide, 25 outreach and intake centers, and 26 agricultural counselors. WEN provides integrated statewide support to entrepreneurs in all industries and developmental stages and offers a variety of custom-tailored services such as business planning, referral networks for access to capital; technology transfer assistance; and helping high growth potential businesses take their businesses to the next level.  Through December 2005, WEN had already provided assistance to more that 7,000 entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs.

In order to provide efficient and seamless service to the Wisconsin entrepreneur, Commerce will be transferring its technology, rural, urban, dairy EPG programs to WEN since they will now be the first point of contact. Additional information regarding the upcoming transfer of the EPG programs will be provided as details are developed.

--Shelly Harkins

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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