WEDC seeking entrepreneurship program grant applications

Nonprofits, startup-supporting organizations can receive up to $100,000

Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts.
Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is seeking applications for its Entrepreneurship Support Program, which provides funding to early-stage resource programs.

Dan Steininger of BizStarts accepts a WEDC Entrepreneurship Support Program grant in 2017.

The ESP, established in 2016, offers matching grants of between $10,000 and $100,000 to nonprofits and community organizations that provide entrepreneurship resources, training, mentorship, business development and financial services. ESP has so far provided $1 million in grants to 17 organizations across Wisconsin for projects including prototype creation, legal services and programs for underserved entrepreneurs.

Last year, Launch MKE and Milwaukee-based BizStarts received a joint $80,000 grant through the ESP program to provide a cohort-based education program and long-term coaching for entrepreneurs in underserved Milwaukee neighborhoods. Also in 2017, Milwaukee’s BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation received a $65,000 grant from the ESP for its HATCH entrepreneurial program, which is hosted in cooperation with NEWaukee.

“This program has made a real difference in supporting Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by filling resource gaps, launching new initiatives and building strong community networks,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at WEDC. “We look forward to seeing what type of innovative grant proposals are developed to provide entrepreneurs throughout the state with the support and resources they need to launch successful businesses.”

Applications are due by Oct. 26. Applicants must match the grant amount, with funding to be used for personnel, professional services and materials for the specified project in 2019.

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