Waukesha Co. hopes to boost business with new economic development organization

Waukesha County Exec Paul Farrow says the county’s new economic development organization will be a “one-stop shop” for businesses looking to expand.

That’s because, the former GOP lawmaker says, a survey the county did six months ago showed 72 percent of respondents said they wanted to grow their businesses. The plan is making sure those companies have everything they need to grow — and attract new ones to the area.

“We realized we have an opportunity to help businesses grow and advance significantly here within the county,” Farrow said.

The organization, which is yet to be named and whose leadership will be announced in the coming weeks, looks to replace one that closed in 2014. The county was charged through its budget with coming up with a new entity.

Leading the effort will be the Waukesha County Business Alliance, a membership organization that functions like a chamber. The Alliance won a contract from the county to set up the nonprofit group, which will focus more on economic development strategies.

The group will, for example, work closely with the regional economic development group Milwaukee 7. It also will tout its infrastructure and proximity to highways, highly educated workforce and quality of life, Farrow said.

Farrow said officials are continuing talks with companies to raise more money for the group, which is starting with $350,000 and is looking to launch in the third quarter of the year.

“We’ve got a lot of people that are very excited to get it moving,” Farrow said.