UW-Whitewater SBDC helps position Milton during construction

WHITEWATER ­ Attracting new businesses and sustaining existing businesses is
crucial to economic growth and drawing consumers, companies and residents to
a destination. The city of Milton, partnering with the University of
Wisconsin-Whitewater¹s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is
conducting a Community Innovation project to build a core image to make
Milton a desired destination in anticipation of bypass road construction.

Together with the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, the SBDC is developing
and implementing an innovation process that will positively position Milton
businesses for success during bypass construction time and beyond. A study
conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation found that
communities and business districts that have a strong identity as
destinations for visitors and for local consumers are most likely to be
strengthened following highway bypass installation due to reduced traffic
flow through the city center.

The goal of the Community Innovation for Economic Development project is to
position Milton as a place for new product development, services and
companies that will attract industries on a community-wide scale. By
conducting research, the SBDC will identify the strengths and weaknesses of
the community. It will also identify any gaps where services and products
are not being delivered to satisfy the needs of the customer and the area.
Emphasizing the strengths of the community and building on them will draw in
other businesses and increase economic development.

³The project goal is to define what makes Milton unique,² Gayhart said. ³We
want to identify its strengths and leverage what it does have to make it
sustainable in the future.²

The SBDC targeted Milton because of the evident growth it has experienced.
The research project will work to develop strategies to attract businesses
that will complement the community¹s existing strengths.

Gayhart said the survey process should be completed by the end of this year.
After analyzing research results, the SBDC will present Milton with a report
demonstrating the findings and recommending actions to be taken by the
businesses and municipality to bring about economic growth. The project
coordinator will stay in contact with the Milton community as it implements
the growth plan.

³We want to make sure the process is successfully followed,² Gayhart said.
³We anticipate a relationship that lasts more than a year.²

The Community Innovation project is funded through a $25,000 UW-Extension
grant. The process, once developed, tested and refined, can be applied
throughout Wisconsin by other SBDC service centers to strengthen the
statewide economy, one community at a time.

For more information about the SBDC and its programs, call 262-472-3217 or
visit www.uww.edu/sbdc <
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