Wisconsin Financial Resources for Businesses

Contact Nancy Elsing, Executive Director of the Columbia County Economic Development Corp. at (608) 742-6161, or cell (608) 697-0174 for information on these and many other available financing options.

The Wisconsin economic development team includes many partners -- CCEDC, Forward Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, other state agencies, local economic development officials, the state's utilities, the Wisconsin Technical College and University Systems, and other groups. Each partner brings valuable resources to helping you with your expansion project.

Listed below are selected financial programs available through the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation that are most commonly utilized by out-of-state businesses expanding to Wisconsin. This is not an all-inclusive list of the financial programs available at the state level-- the Columbia County Economic Development Corporation also has our own programs to assist your business expansion. Please contact CCEDC if you would like more information on financial assistance and incentives. We can put you in contact with the appropriate partner to get you the specific details you require.

Customized Labor Training Fund provides training grants to businesses that are implementing new technology or production processes. The program can provide up to 50 percent of the cost of customized training that is not available from the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-Economic Development Program, funded through the federal Small Cities CDBG Program, provides grants to communities to promote local job creation and retention. Local governments then lend the funds to businesses for start-up, retention, and expansion projects through grant funding. Funding levels depend on the number of jobs to be created or retained.

Dairy 2020 Initiative awards grants and loans for business and feasibility planning to dairy producers and processors considering a modernization or expansion project.

Employee Ownership Assistance Loan Program can help a group of employees purchase a business by providing individual awards up to $25,000 for feasibility studies or professional assistance. The business under consideration must have expressed its intent to downsize or close.

COMMERCE/DVR Job Creation Program is designed to increase employment opportunities for DVR clients by providing equipment grants, technical assistance grants, and customized assistance to companies that will hire persons with disabilities as part of a business expansion.

Rural Economic Development Program makes individual awards up to $30,000 for feasibility studies and other professional assistance to rural businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Businesses that have completed their feasibility evaluations are eligible for individual micro loans up to $25,000 for working capital and the purchase of equipment.

Major Economic Development Program offers low-interest loans for business development projects that create a significant economic impact.

Technology Development Fund helps businesses finance Phase I product development research. Firms completing Phase I projects can receive Phase II product- commercialization funding.

Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) helps cities in Wisconsin attract industrial and commercial growth in underdeveloped and blighted areas. A city or village can designate a specific area within its boundaries as a TIF district and develop a plan to improve its property values. Taxes generated by the increased property values pay for land acquisition or needed public works.

Enterprise Development Zone Program promotes a business start-up or expansion on a particular site in any area of the state that suffers from high unemployment, declining income and property values, and other indicators of economic distress. The program offers tax credits for such activities as hiring disadvantaged workers and undertaking environmental remediation. Tax credits can be taken only on income generated by business activity in the zone. The maximum amount of tax credits per zone is $3 million.

Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) are a means of financing the constructing and equipping of manufacturing plants and a limited number of non-manufacturing facilities. The municipality is not responsible for debt service on IRBs, nor is it liable in the case of default. IRBs are also exempt from federal income tax.

Wisconsin Transportation Facilities Economic Assistance and Development Program funds transportation facilities improvements (road, rail, harbor, airport) that are part of an economic development project.

For more information contact:


  Nancy Elsing, Executive Director
Columbia County Economic Development Corporation
112 E. Edgewater Street
Portage, WI 53901

Phone: (608) 742-6161
Cell: (608) 697-0174
FAX: (608) 742-3582
Nancy Elsing