More money will be funneled to Wisconsin startups, thanks to two new programs announced Monday.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) is teaming with Invest in Wisconsin to offer $1 million in grants and loans as well as training, technical assistance and mentorship to young technology businesses across the state over the next 18 months.
Invest in Wisconsin is a collaborative of four nonprofits that help fund entrepreneurs who often have less access to capital.
Three of the nonprofits — Community Assets for People; First American Capital Corp.; and Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. — will contribute a total of $500,000 and WEDC is providing a $500,000 matching grant.
The money is designed to give a boost to startups as well as to companies progressing from the early stages to mass manufacturing.
Community Assets for People provides loans to businesses in six central Wisconsin counties: Marquette, Portage, Outagamie, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood. First American Capital Corp. offers loans to businesses owned by Native Americans. Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. focuses on funding companies owned by women, people of color and low-income people.
But this program will go beyond those guidelines to help tech startups, statewide, “that may have difficulty securing financing from traditional lenders,” WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said.
“Venture capital or traditional bank financing may not be a fit for many technology startups and early-stage businesses, and that can suffocate potential development opportunities,” said Lesley Hutchins, development and marketing director for Invest in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Northwestern Mutual and Aurora Health Care said Monday their investment arms are each allocating $5 million in a joint, multi-year effort to support Milwaukee-area startups.