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WEDC: CEO says ‘Wisconsin is good for business’

Contact: Tom Thieding, 608-267-9661 tom.thieding@wedc.org

Link to Release: http://wedc.org/wisconsin-is-good-for-business-releas

MADISON, February 9, 2012 – The head of the state’s economic development organization today said that not only is Wisconsin “open” for business, but Wisconsin is “good” for business. Paul Jadin, CEO/Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), told economic development professionals attending the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development today that the organization has set an aggressive and innovative agenda to spur business and job growth across the state.

“If we don’t support entrepreneurs we won’t create jobs. If we don’t expand exports, we won’t create jobs. And if we don’t retain businesses in Wisconsin, we won’t create jobs,” said Jadin. “We are focusing on all these fronts with other state agencies, local communities and economic development partners to be more aggressive and responsive to business and job growth opportunities.”

Jadin said recent events like attracting Kestrel Aircraft Company to Superior and retaining Spectrum Brands’ headquarters in Wisconsin demonstrate that Governor Walker and state and local officials are serious about forging win-win solutions for businesses and the people of Wisconsin.

“These and other success stories underscore Wisconsin’s strong and innovative leadership in creating new opportunities for the state’s workers and our economy. They reflect the new positive attitude and responsive, aggressive approach Governor Walker and WEDC is bringing to business development in Wisconsin,” Jadin said.

WEDC was created during Governor Walker’s special session on jobs in January 2011, and officially replaced the Department of Commerce on July 1 of last year. Jadin said this reorganization has allowed the state to be more flexible and innovative in pursuing economic development strategies.

For example, Jadin said WEDC is out to increase the number of entrepreneurs starting business in Wisconsin using existing tax credits and loans, but also with accelerator programs and seed and early stage investment.

Jadin said WEDC has implemented a groundbreaking model for advancing target industry sectors to focus on water technology, manufacturing, trucking, defense vehicle manufacturing and biotechnology. This target industry approach delivers customized solutions to consortia that has strong industry leadership, has a defined plan for growth and has realistic potential for strong and long-term economic impact.

He pointed to WEDC’s recent investment with the Milwaukee Water Council on a technology and research facility in Milwaukee as an example of the target industry investment approach the organization is taking.

“We must also look to markets beyond our shores in order to produce job-creating growth for Wisconsin,” Jadin said. “Last year Wisconsin exported $19.8 billion worth of products to more than 100 countries. We are out to double exports by 2016, creating new business growth in Wisconsin.”

WEDC is hosting three international trade missions this spring to Southeast Asia, South America and India and evaluating the location of international offices to take advantage of global opportunities.

Jadin said even WEDC’s approach with the traditional tax credit and loan programs will be better leveraged through improved partnership with communities and economic development partners. He said the organization is providing tools, like the LocateInWisconsin.com site search tool and a certified site program, to improve the state’s ability to attract businesses to Wisconsin. He said aligning resources more regionally will also improve the coordination of business development and better utilize resources like revolving loan funds.

Through the first seven months of operation, WEDC has assisted 312 businesses and 65 communities, and created and retained 28,136 jobs, at the targets set by WEDC for the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year. The Governor’s Conference on Economic Development was hosted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association.

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