Dept. of Commerce: Gov. Doyle announces grants to aid statewide community development efforts

Contacts: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608-267-9661

Carla Vigue, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

MADISON—Governor Jim Doyle today announced that 25 Wisconsin community-based organizations will share grants totaling $640,900 from the Community-Based Economic Development (CBED) Program administered by the Department of Commerce (Commerce).

“By investing in our communities, we will grow Wisconsin by creating new economic opportunities and jobs for hardworking families,” Governor Doyle said. “I’m pleased to announce these awards that will leverage $1,251,035 in additional investment.”

The projects are as follows:

Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC), Racine, Racine County, $22,500 grant

RCEDC will receive funding to operate a kitchen incubator on the Racine lakefront, modeled after the successful kitchen incubator in Algoma. The incubator will seek to attract a wide range of entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal is successfully-incubated businesses will select downtown locations for future growth.

The Wisconsin Business Incubator Association (WBIA), Sturtevant, Racine County, $21,000 grant.

WBIA is a largely volunteer organization made up of statewide incubator managers. Over the past 20 years, Wisconsin incubators have created over 1,000 successful businesses. WBIA will sue the grant for a project that will provide better training for existing incubator managers and create a technical service program for communities starting incubators.

River Alliance of Wisconsin, Racine, Racine County, $25,000 grant

River Alliance of Wisconsin will use the grant to develop a plan for the Root River Urban Corridor in Racine. The project is a follow-up to a plan done in 2008 entitled “Back to the Root: An Urban Revitalization Plan”. The City of Racine hopes to follow-up the successful redevelopment of its lakefront and downtown with the revitalization of its riverfront.

Institute for Collaborative Health Interventions (ICHI), Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, $17,890 grant

The institute has played a successful role in providing home health care services to many low- income individuals in Milwaukee. The organization has found that qualified home health care providers could deliver services at a far lower cost than large health care providers. ICHI will use its grant to find home health care providers interested in this market and provide the necessary administrative support to the providers.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC), Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, $85,000 grant.

WWBIC will receive funding to continue its many business assistance programs around the state. WWBIC makes nearly 50 loans a year to low-income, women, and minority entrepreneurs. It has continuously expanded services and attracted booth federal and foundation funding. The organization has established a successful long-term collaboration with the Department of Commerce.

Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, $10,000 grant

MATC will use the grant to perform a feasibility study for a joint incubator run by MATC and UW-Milwaukee. The proposal will focus on technology transfer programs taking place at both institutions and has the support of major economic development organizations in Milwaukee.

Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (NWCDC), Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, $47,500 grant

NWCDC will use the grant to operate, expand, and develop a marketing plan for its incubator. DRS, a maker of defense equipment, is leasing unused space to NWCDC for an incubator expansion. Successful forms in the incubator include Paradigm Sensors and Universal Housing Systems.

Wisconsin Security Research Consortium (WSRC), Madison, Dane County, $30,000 grant.

WSRC will use the grant to help Wisconsin companies statewide procure federal contracts, especially in the technology and defense areas.

Forward Community Investments (Forward), Madison, Dane County, $30,000 grant

Forward will use the grant to help leverage $2 million in funding from private sources that can be loaned to Wisconsin non-profits statewide The grant will help Forward develop program criteria and materials, raise funds, market the program, and process 25 loans. Current economic conditions have increased the demand for services from non-profits.

Common Wealth Development Corporation (CWDC), Madison, Dane County, $10,000 grant

CWDC will use the grant for a feasibility study for a food processing incubator in Madison focusing on locally grown products. Thrive, the regional economic development organization serving southern Wisconsin, and the Agricultural Innovation Center of the UW Extension are partners in the project The study will include a detailed business plan.

Construction Training Incorporated (CTI), Madison, Dane County, $15,000 grant.

CTI will receive funding to run a Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Readiness Training (START) program to help low-income minority and women workers pursue jobs in the skilled trades. Trade unions foresee a future shortage of skilled workers in Dane County because many of their members are nearing retirement age.

Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC), Sturgeon Bay, Door County, $22,500 grant

DCEDC will use the grant in partnership with the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation to continue retaining high school graduates in the area workforce. The project matches the skills of youth graduating from regional educational institutions with the needs of local employers. Over the past year, the program has expanded to include both boys and girls.

ADVOCAP, Berlin, Green Lake County, $100,000 grant.

ADVOCAP will help Thill Logistics staff its new call center in Berlin. The business will create 150 jobs immediately and 350 in the next several years. ADVOCAP will find employees from a rural based workforce in a region where currently few job opportunities exist. The project will rely on the active participation of regional partners including the job center, technical colleges and economic development corporations.

Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, Incorporated, Menominee County, $15,000 grant

Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, Incorporated, will operate a program to support entrepreneurial development among Native American youth. The project will recruit ten Native Americans to work as mentors for 100 economically and socially at-risk middle-school students on the Menominee Indian Reservation. The project will focus on financial literacy and will include an entrepreneurship project.

Benton Community Incubator, Benton, Lafayette County, $13,000 grant

The Village of Benton constructed a small incubator in 2000. Demand on incubator space has recently increased. The grant will help fund operation of the incubator.

Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC), Spooner, Washburn County, $30,000 grant.

NWRPC will use the grant to continue to operate the Northwest Enterprise Center Network of five incubators in Northwest Wisconsin. The network of incubators has generated more than 20 successful businesses, many that have been technology related. NWRPC has brought more than $3 million in federal grants to the region to construct its incubator network. Growing occupancy levels show the entire network achieving a break-even point by 2011.

Wisconsin Ability Network (WAN), Brule, Douglas County, $20,000 grant.

WAN provides marketing and product development services to statewide work centers for persons with disabilities. There are far more persons with disabilities looking for jobs than there are jobs available at the state’s work centers. These centers are non-profit organizations partly funded by counties. WAN seeks to increase the centers’ income so they can provide more jobs, increase wages and reduce reliance on government subsidies. The grant will pay for shared marketing efforts, technical assistance and new product development.

Walworth County Economic Development Alliance, Elkhorn, Walworth County, $10,000 grant

WCEDA will use the grant to perform a feasibility study for an incubator in Walworth County. The county is in a high-growth area, but not currently served by an incubator. The project will be a joint Venture between WCEDA and Gateway Technical College. The venture will study the viability of finding opportunities for displaced workers to start businesses or find employment, and recommend ways Gateway Technical College can expand its business development services beyond its campus.

Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. (WDEOC), Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, $45,000 grant

WDEOC will use the grant to develop a business case management support team from area economic development organizations that will offer intensive, online support for the development and expansion of businesses that are believed to have high growth potential. The goal of the project is to create 50 new jobs for entrepreneurs or the employees of expanding small businesses.

Asset Builders of America, Inc., Madison, Dane County, $20,000 grant.

Asset Builders of America, Inc. will use the grant to teach low-income students in Milwaukee about financial literacy and investing. The project will also help youth produce and begin to implement business plans. In addition, the organization will expand its services to include the Red Cliff Reservation, the Fox River Valley, Wausau and Racine/Kenosha.

Downtown Green Bay Charities, Inc. (DGBCI), Green Bay, Brown County, $12,500 grant.

DGBCI will use grant to develop a plan for a wholesale retail food cooperative, a commercial kitchen incubator and a facility for education in food production topics. The project seeks to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for small food producers; will have several purposes; provide access to high quality locally grown food to downtown residents; and help revitalize part of the downtown. The project will build on the existing partnership of UW-Green Bay, Downtown Green Bay Charities, the City of Green Bay, Northwest Technical College the UW Center for Cooperatives and the UW-Extension.

New Richmond Area Economic Development Corp. (NRAEC), St. Croix County, $25,000 grant

NRAEC will use the grant to help develop an incubator in New Richmond. It has already identified several potential clients, and hopes to take advantage of its location within the Twin Cities metropolitan Market.

Stoughton Redevelopment Authority (SRA), Dane County, $10,000 grant

SRA will use the grant to perform a feasibility study for an incubator offering shared business services. The incubator is the next step in the community’s plan to improve its downtown and provide local job opportunities.

La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LCADC), La Crosse, La Crosse County, $40,000 grant

LCADC will use the grant to help finance a Center for Manufacturing Excellence in La Crosse. The project is a major collaborative effort that will help meet the need for manufacturing jobs in the region. Collaborators include the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of La Crosse, the County of La Crosse, and the La Crosse Industrial Park Corporation.

Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation (WBIC), Spooner, $25,000 grant.

Will receive funds to continue a venture capital program to educate and attract investors and small growing businesses about the rural venture capital fund run by WBIC. The fund is made up of government and non-profit organizations who participate in an investment pool. It has achieved great success with some of its investments creating good jobs in Northwestern Wisconsin.

For more information on the CBED program, contact Doug Thurlow, Commerce, 608/266-7942.0