Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
February 2006
New Commerce Grant Program to Spark Entrepreneurship

Wisconsin communities interested in bolstering their entrepreneurial spirit can take advantage of a new grant to help establish Inventor and Entrepreneur Clubs (I&E Clubs). Working through the new Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN) and the Juneau County Economic Development Corp, Commerce will provide up to $1,000 per county to help set up and run an I&E club.

When done correctly, I&E Clubs help individuals come together to think creatively, develop their ideas, weigh the risks, meet other would-be entrepreneurs and network with assistance providers. The club concept is based on the very successful Juneau County model. Since 2003, the Juneau County I&E Club has grown to over 300 members. A number of new companies have already spun out of the club's activities and area businesses are tapping into the ideas and innovations surfacing from club members.

Applications for the new I&E grant program can be submitted online at the WEN website (www.wenportal.org). Local economic development organizations, municipalities, nonprofits, educational institutions, chambers of commerce, or existing I&E Clubs are eligible to receive grant money.(Individual inventors or entrepreneurs interested in starting a club need to solicit the support of a public sector or non-profit group.) Funds will not be awarded to private sector businesses or citizens.

To help interested organizations learn how to set up a club, a new DVD, "Catch the Culture", is now available. The DVD contains advice on setting up meetings, sample meeting agendas, club by-laws, member interviews, meeting clips, and tips and tricks to help clubs thrive. To request this free DVD, call the Juneau County Economic Development Corporation at 608-427-2070 or email jcedcsn@mwt.net.

--Shelly Harkins

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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