Entrepreneurs' Toolkit

Wisconsin is a big state with an ever-growing and evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem. A new generation of entrepreneurs and their partners are helping to build Wisconsin’s 21st century “knowledge economy”. The Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit is designed to give innovators a guide to resources available in Wisconsin and beyond.  From the Wisconsin Technology Council.

SBA Loans and Grants

Even though SBA does not loan money directly to small business owners, they play an important role for people who want to finance or grow their business. When you apply for a SBA-backed loan at your local bank or credit union, you are asking SBA to provide a guarantee that you will repay your loan as promised.

To help you identify what government financing programs may be available to help you start or expand your business, use our "Loans and Grants Search Tool".

Note: Although SBA does not provide grants to start or grow a business, certain grants do exist for very specific groups, organizations, or activities – such as businesses involved in scientific research and development.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Authority (WHEDA)

WHEDA was created in 1972 by the Wisconsin Legislature as an independent authority, not a state agency. As a lender, WHEDA has over $3 billion in assets. WHEDA programs fundamentally do not rely on tax dollars. Instead, proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds allow us to fund financing programs that help stimulate affordable housing and economic development throughout the state.

  • WHEDA Small Business Guarantee (WSBG) - Helps acquire or expand a small business with favorable financing terms.
  • Contractors Loan Guarantee (CLG) - Helps contractors complete contracts and build their business.
  • Neighborhood Business Revitalization Guarantee (NBRG) - Helps to bring or expand business, or develop or rehabilitate commercial real estate in an urban area.
  • Agribusiness Guarantee (AgBG) - Helps new or existing businesses obtain financing on favorable terms to develop or expand production of products using Wisconsin's raw agricultural commodities.
  • Wisconsin Venture Debt Fund - Designed to provide debt financing to growth companies that create new, high-quality jobs in Wisconsin. These debt funds are intended to be complimentary to early stage equity allowing companies to access capital at predictable costs.

View more information at the WHEDA website.


Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC)

WWBIC makes loans to small and micro businesses up to $100,000. The pre-qualification and loan applications are completed online, but accompanying documents must be submitted as a PDF, mailed or delivered.

Although WWBIC takes many factors into consideration, stronger applicants will:

  • Have a written Business Plan.
  • Will operate in the State of Wisconsin.
  • Be an existing business with a successful track record and who is staged for growth.
  • Be a start-up businesses whose owner has extensive experience in the industry.
  • Understand general business operations (management, financing, human resources, marketing, etc.)
  • Have a strong credit history.

If you are ready to apply for a loan, you must pre-qualify. If you qualify, you will be able to access the Loan Application. View more information on the WWBIC website.

Grants and Loans

  • Brown Fields Grant: Brownfields are abandoned, idle or underused commercial or industrial properties, where the expansion or redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived contamination. Brownfields vary in size, location, age, and past use -- they can be anything from a five-hundred acre automobile assembly plant to a small, abandoned corner gas station.
  • Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation: Wisconsin Business Development (WBD) continues to expand our goal of lending support to small business by adding new products and services that increase the availability of solutions that work. We take great pride in the achievements of all the businesses we serve and we value the talent and experience of our staff to provide a statewide network for lending support to small businesses.

USDA Business Programs

To support rural regional economic prosperity, USDA Rural Development provides job training and business development opportunities for rural residents, including cooperative business development, community economic development and strategic community planning and faith-based and self-help initiatives. Funding for most of these efforts is administered by USDA Rural Business Programs.

Rural Development also offers programs to provide the educational opportunities, training, technical support, and tools for rural residents to start small businesses and to access jobs in agricultural markets, the green economy, and other existing markets, as well as acquire training in vocational and entrepreneurship skills they can use in the marketplace and business sector.

Impact Seven, Inc.

A community development corporation (CDC), Impact Seven was founded in 1970 by people of Northwestern Wisconsin concerned with a waning economy and is an Equal Opportunity Corporation.

Greater Wisconsin Fund - Impact Seven has assembled a number of different revolving loan funds to create this program, which serves the entire state of Wisconsin. Loans from this program are generally from $35,000 to $1,000,000. Most new and expanding businesses are eligible. Review the Greater Wisconsin Fund Guidelines for program criteria and to download an application for financing.

Venture Capital Fund - Impact Seven's Venture Capital Fund is one of few such pools in Wisconsin. It is available statewide, for ventures that have high growth potential and will consider sharing equity. Review the Venture Capital Fund Guidelines for program criteria.

Facts About Government Grants

Facts About Government Grants from the Federal government are authorized and appropriated through bills passed by Congress and signed by the President.

The announcements for the counseling and training grants will appear on If Congress authorizes Specific Initiative Grants, organizations receiving such grants will receive individual notifications.

How to Get a Business Loan - Where to Look and How to Prepare to Fund Your Small Business

How do so many small businesses get started? It all begins with the right type of financing. Whether you are a startup business or are expanding your current business, you need money to get rolling. This guide from Consumer Affairs will help you figure out the type of loan you need for your business and will look at the step-by-step process of securing a business loan.

VCEDC Angel Investor Program

For information on the VCEDC Angel Investor Program, please contact Nicole Justa at 715-617-7737.