Wisconsin is divided into nine vibrant economic development regions, each with its own flavor and set of economic strengths. Regional partnerships have spurred economic growth and closer relationships between education, government, commerce and community.
455 Science Dr., Suite 160
Madison, WI 53711
Executive Director: Paul Jadin
Counties: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, Sauk
Major industries: Advanced manufacturing, biosciences, education, food and beverage, government, health care, agriculture, information technology, life sciences
Largest airport: Dane County Regional
College and universities: Beloit College, Blackhawk Technical College, Edgewood College, Herzing University, Madison Area Technical College, Madison Media Institute, UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater
MadREP continues to successfully balance attracting and promoting biotech and technology startups in Madison, supporting surrounding communities in their plans to retain and grow businesses.
Forbes named Madison the 7th Best City for Entrepreneurs, touting its well-trained and educated workforce, the culture of innovation and research inspired by the University of Wisconsin and the high quality of life.
Milwaukee 7 (M7) Economic Development
756 N. Milwaukee St., Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI, 53202
Executive director: Pat O’Brien
Counties: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha
Population: 2 million
Major industries: Banking and finance, educational and health services, government, manufacturing, information services, insurance, leisure and hospitality, printing, professional and business services
Largest airport: General Mitchell International
Largest seaport: Port of Milwaukee
Colleges and universities: Alverno College, Bryant & Stratton College, Cardinal Stritch University, Carroll University, Carthage College, Concordia University-Wisconsin, DeVry University, Gateway Technical College, High-Tech Institute-Brookfield, Kaplan College, Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Mount Mary University, Nashotah House, Ottawa University-Milwaukee, Sacred Heart School of Theology, Sanford-Brown College, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, UW-Whitewater, UW–Washington County, UW-Waukesha, Waukesha County Technical College, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology
The region represented by Milwaukee 7 (M7) is the state’s most populous and serves as the global headquarters for 9 Fortune 1000 companies. M7 leaders continue the push to attract more businesses to the area while retaining current companies and helping them grow.
M7 has helped launch several industry clusters, including The Water Council and the Mid-West Energy Resource Consortium, to spur industry innovations and create economic growth.
600 N. Adams St.
Green Bay WI 54307
Executive director: Jerry Murphy
Counties: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago
Major industries: Paper, paper converting, machinery, plastics/films, tourism and hospitality, defense, marine, agriculture and food production, power and energy
Largest airport: Green Bay Austin Straubel International
Largest seaport: Port of Green Bay
Colleges & universities: Bellin College, College of Menominee Nation, Fox Valley Technical College, Lakeland College, Lakeshore Technical College, Lawrence University, Marian University, Moraine Park Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Ripon College, Silver Lake College, St. Norbert College, UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Fox Valley, UW-Green Bay; UW-Manitowoc, UW-Marinette, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Sheboygan
The New North continues to look for ways to help businesses across the 18-county region flourish. The vast area starts from the shores of Lake Michigan and moves east through the industrial Fox Valley, to several central Wisconsin counties where agriculture is the primary industry.
The economic development group has created multiple online supply chain directories for various industries, including defense, advanced manufacturing, shipbuilding, aviation and information technology.
7 Rivers Alliance
601 Seventh St. North
La Crosse, WI 54601
Executive Director: Lisa Herr
Counties: Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Trempealeau and Vernon counties in Wisconsin; Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in Minnesota; Allamakee and Winneshiek counties in Iowa
Population: 435,000 – Region total (including Iowa and Minnesota counties); 295,000 in Wisconsin
Major industries: Food manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing, lumber, animal production and aquaculture, machinery manufacturing, agriculture, manufacturing composites, truck transportation, hospitality, health care, education services
Colleges and universities: UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University, Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Luther College, Western Technical College, Globe University, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical College
The 7 Rivers Alliance promotes economic development in counties in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, knowing that business growth does not stop at state boundaries. A tri-state board of directors helps bring together community and business leaders to solve issues from across the region.
By sharing information and developing clusters, the 7 Rivers Alliance looks to inspire innovation across industries, particularly technology and health care while also combining efforts to attract and retain a skilled workforce to the region.
1800 Bronson Blvd
Fennimore, WI 53809
President: Ron Brisbois
Counties: Crawford, Grant, Green, Lafayette, Richland
Major industries: Lumber, agriculture, agriculture equipment, cheese manufacturing, metal machining
Colleges and universities: UW-Platteville, UW-Richland Center, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College-Fennimore, Blackhawk Technical College
Prosperity Southwest is the economic development organization for five counties in Southwest Wisconsin, focusing on business recruitment and retention for small businesses and large industrial companies.
Manufacturing, agriculture and tourism are the region’s strongest industries, with Prosperity Southwest utilizing the Locate In Wisconsin website to market available buildings, industrial park property and building sites to companies considering the area.
500 First St., Suite 15
Wausau, WI 54403
Executive Director: Nelson Dahl
Counties: Adams, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Wood
Major industries: Manufacturing, paper, health care, insurance
Largest airport: Central Wisconsin
Colleges and universities: Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin, Mid-State Technical College, Northcentral Technical College, UW-Marathon County, UW-Marshfield/Wood County, UW-Stevens Point
The five counties that form Centergy are home to a diverse array of businesses, from heavy-duty manufacturers and bio-based technology firms to health care and insurance services. The key to the region’s success is balancing the different industries and focusing on the issues important to all of them, including workforce attraction and retention.
Health care is a major economic catalyst. The Marshfield Clinic is purchasing and updating St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield from Ministry Healthcare, a division of Ascension Health, while Ministry is adding to St. Clare’s Hospital just outside of Wausau, making that the system’s flagship hospital for the region.
2322 Alpine Rd. Suite 7
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Executive Director: Steve Jahn
Counties: Barron, Clark, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix
Major industries: Medical devices, plastics, packaging, health care, education, bio-agriculture, bio-energy, sensors, computers, nanotechnology, chemicals
Largest airport: Chippewa Valley
Colleges and universities: UW-Barron County, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Indianhead Technical College, Immanuel Lutheran College
Collaboration describes how businesses, organizations and municipalities work in the area represented by Momentum West. The group recently launched an economic development dashboard showing how the economy is performing in the region’s 10 counties. It uses objective data designed to help area leaders focus on key economic factors.
The region is also home to three four-year University of Wisconsin campuses, which provide area businesses with additional talent, training and research.
P.O. Box 518
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Executive Director: Angi Schreiber
Counties: Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas
Major industries: Tourism, health care, wood products, manufacturing
Largest airport: Rhinelander/Oneida County
Colleges & universities: Nicolet College, Northcentral Technical College
Across Wisconsin’s Northwoods, improving connectivity through the expansion of broadband Internet is the number one economic development issue. Companies rely on high-speed connections to conduct business, which is also needed by area residents. In 2016, three telecom companies, using $570 million in government subsidies, pledged to expand broadband coverage to another 230,000 households across rural Wisconsin, including the area covered by Grow North, by 2020.
1400 S. River St.
Spooner, WI 54801
Executive Director: Sheldon Johnson
Counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn
Major industries: Manufacturing, health care, retail, tourism
Largest airport: Duluth International
Largest port: Port of Duluth-Superior
Colleges & universities: UW-Superior, Northland College, Northcentral Technical College, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Visions Northwest is in the process of completing an inventory and evaluation of existing utility lines, including broadband Internet, to determine how the existing infrastructure may affect business growth. The study, which was funded by a capacity building grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, will help area officials identify potential areas for economic development and what additional services may be needed to spark additional growth.
The organization is also working to promote and further develop the wood industry throughout the region, including how work being done at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resource Research Institute may help area businesses and the creation of new ones.