For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a $17,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to help fund the organization’s efforts to advance the climate for entrepreneurship throughout the Heart of Wisconsin region.
The Heart of Wisconsin Community Incubator is one of 11 Wisconsin organizations to receive grants under WEDC’s Entrepreneurship Support Program, which helps fund activities such as the promotion of entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial education, mentorship and training; and business development and financial services. WEDC awarded $500,000 in matching grants statewide.
“WEDC congratulates the Heart of Wisconsin for developing an innovative proposal that resulted in this grant,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “We look forward to working with the Heart of Wisconsin Community Incubator to further increase the availability of resources for entrepreneurs and innovators in the region.”
The Heart of Wisconsin will provide entrepreneurial training to individuals serving jail sentences at the Wood County Jail, including educational sessions, individualized business coaching and mentor-ship.
“Building on the success of the Entrepreneurial Boot Camp, the Heart of Wisconsin Community Incubator will implement similar programming for interested individuals in collaboration with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department.” said Melissa Reichert, president of the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.
While WEDC has a variety of programs to support the formation, development, growth and financing of technology-based and growth-oriented startup and early-stage businesses, the Entrepreneurship Support Program provides funding to organizations and communities whose efforts may not meet the eligibility criteria for existing programs.
The Heart of Wisconsin identified an area in which it could expand its services, but its budget would not support the additional activity and could not be covered by other WEDC programs.
The Entrepreneurship Support Program, now in its second year, is the latest addition to WEDC’s suite of entrepreneurship resources, which includes support for startup accelerators, seed capital funds, investment tax credits and technology development loans. In addition, WEDC supports and engages an existing statewide network of partners that offers business training, mentorship and financing to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Other grant recipients include: BizStarts, Milwaukee; BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Milwaukee; Couleecap Inc., La Crosse; Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 3, Fennimore; Indianhead Community Action Agency, Ladysmith; Green County Development Corporation, Monroe; Nicolet Area Technical College, Rhinelander; Oconto County Economic Development Corporation, Oconto; UW-Stout Center for Innovation and Development, Menomonie; and WiSolve Consulting Group, Madison.