WEDC, Invest in Wisconsin launch $1 million initiative to boost tech startups

Will provide capital, training to early-stage businesses across the state

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. announced Monday it is partnering with Invest in Wisconsin, a collaborative of community development financial institutions, on a $1 million initiative to boost technology startups across the state.

The initiative will provide capital, technical assistance and training to startup and early-stage technology-focused businesses statewide, according to a WEDC announcement.

WEDC is awarding a $500,000 matching grant to three Invest in Wisconsin members – Community Assets for People, First American Capital Corporation and Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation – which will contribute a total of $500,000. The $1 million will be distributed as a mix of loans and grants to the young businesses.

The initiative will target startups to reduce risk aversion and help businesses in the transition from the proof-of-concept phase to mass manufacture. The businesses will also be provided technical support and one-on-one coaches and mentors.

“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. “Invest in Wisconsin and its partners have identified the need to reduce risk aversion for entrepreneurs in the technology business sector and to provide equitable financial opportunities to help them realize their business ideas. This investment from WEDC will really boost these activities.”

The grant marks the first time WEDC’s Capital Catalyst Program has funded a statewide initiative.

News of the WEDC initiative followed an announcement from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Aurora Health Care on Monday that each company will invest $5 million to support Milwaukee startups in a multi-year funding commitment.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. announced Monday it is partnering with Invest in Wisconsin, a collaborative of community development financial institutions, on a $1 million initiative to boost technology startups across the state.

The initiative will provide capital, technical assistance and training to startup and early-stage technology-focused businesses statewide, according to a WEDC announcement.

WEDC is awarding a $500,000 matching grant to three Invest in Wisconsin members – Community Assets for People, First American Capital Corporation and Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation – which will contribute a total of $500,000. The $1 million will be distributed as a mix of loans and grants to the young businesses.

The initiative will target startups to reduce risk aversion and help businesses in the transition from the proof-of-concept phase to mass manufacture. The businesses will also be provided technical support and one-on-one coaches and mentors.

“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. “Invest in Wisconsin and its partners have identified the need to reduce risk aversion for entrepreneurs in the technology business sector and to provide equitable financial opportunities to help them realize their business ideas. This investment from WEDC will really boost these activities.”

The grant marks the first time WEDC’s Capital Catalyst Program has funded a statewide initiative.

News of the WEDC initiative followed an announcement from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Aurora Health Care on Monday that each company will invest $5 million to support Milwaukee startups in a multi-year funding commitment.

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