Building a strong Wisconsin together

Associated Bank is proud to sponsor the Economic Development Regions section of WisconsinBiz. Born in 1970 as an association of strong community banks, we have maintained a strong regional character throughout our history. We recognize and understand the differences in the business and financial needs of companies and communities in the various regions of our state. These needs are also reflected in the priorities of regional economic development organizations. For example, Grow North is focused on improving the fundamental economic drivers of growth, such as enhancements to transportation infrastructure and broadband access. Milwaukee 7 – among many other projects – is targeting national and international prospects to bring additional business into the state.

While New North in Northeast Wisconsin has developed deep expertise in wind energy, Momentum West is building its expertise in the frac sand industry.   

The regional organizations are playing a number of critical roles in strengthening Wisconsin’s economy:

(1)    Connecting resources: Economic success has many fathers, from private enterprise to educational institutions, from lawmakers creating a business-friendly climate to local organizations such as Chambers of Commerce and economic development professionals. The ability to connect these many stakeholders within the region adds enormous value. Educational alliances, industry clusters, regional summits and other groups are forming across our regions to facilitate “meetings of the minds.”  

(2)    Promoting opportunities: The residents of Wisconsin understand and appreciate the many favorable characteristics of our state. Wisconsin takes pride in a get-it-done work ethic resulting in outstanding productivity. Our skilled and well-educated workforce is supported in its continued evolution by quality universities and technical colleges. Wisconsin’s enterprising spirit has helped create many successful companies with national and international reach. Bringing this message to potential investors through a diverse set of marketing and communication vehicles is an essential mandate and opportunity for the regions.

(3)    Mobilizing passion: Ideas are like seeds that need fertile ground and nurturing to grow into something meaningful. Regional organizations play a critical role in providing an initial platform for new ideas, identifying passionate supporters and guiding the process from early concept to business reality. The NEW Manufacturing Alliance, the Water Council
and Wisconsin Wind Works are examples of ideas that have matured into powerful contributors of economic development. Many others are in the pipeline and draw from a wide range of human talent in our regions to create the next wave of growth opportunity.

As the largest Wisconsin-based bank, Associated Bank participates in many areas of the economic development process. We encourage all companies and organizations in the state to consider joining in one or several of the following options:

(1)    Becoming actively involved in the economic development process: Whether at the local level through the Chamber of Commerce, at the regional level through the organizations featured in this section, or through industry clusters and trade organizations, we all have the opportunity to make a difference. Providing knowledge, passion and manpower is likely the most far-reaching form of support. At Associated, we encourage our leaders to identify opportunities for involvement on boards or in individual projects, where their expertise can make a difference.

(2)    Sharing the message: Associated Bank is funding the distribution of an outstanding marketing brochure, the Northeast Wisconsin Business Locator, created in the New North region. We are sending this brochure to hundreds of companies along with an extra copy for them to pass on to business contacts outside the state. As a business community, we should act as a “thousand ambassadors” for our regions and our state.    

(3)    Providing access to financial resources: Loans and lines of credit extended by Associated Bank to companies in Wisconsin total over $5.5 billion. We frequently have the opportunity to provide real estate and working capital financing to companies looking to relocate or expand in Wisconsin. Many smaller or start-up businesses have difficulties accessing the mainstream loan market. Government-sponsored programs and loan funds created at the community, county or state level can fill this void. We have been Wisconsin’s No. 1 Small Business Administration lender for eight years running, and we have joined many other Wisconsin businesses in the effort to create and sustain a wide variety of loan funds.
We invite you to carefully review the following section to learn about Wisconsin’s regions and the organizations that serve them. We encourage you to join the effort to build a stronger Wisconsin. If you are not yet part of our state’s business community, we hope you are intrigued by the opportunity. Please know the experts at Associated Bank are always ready to answer your questions and support you in your journey.

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