WEDC gives $93,000 in entrepreneurship grants to UWM, Milwaukee 7
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Milwaukee 7 and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation have together landed nearly $100,000 in grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. as part of the organization's new Entrepreneurship Support pilot program.
Overall, 11 organizations throughout the state received a total of $500,000 through this program, which aims to advance the entrepreneurial climate in Wisconsin. A total of 32 different applicants sought funding from WEDC through this experimental program.
WEDC announced the creation of the program in September, several weeks after the Kauffman Foundation released its annual 2016 entrepreneurial report that ranked Wisconsin, for the second year in a row, dead last out of all the states for startup activity. The Milwaukee region came in No. 39 of the country's largest 40 metro areas in the study.
Specifically, the UWM Research Foundation received $33,000 to pilot an "I-Corps for Health" program, which would help develop and support innovative health care ventures in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee 7 was granted $60,000 for a new "Entrepreneurial Development Initiative." This program would leverage support from the Milwaukee entrepreneurial community to create a more formal mechanism that would establish a shared vision for the local startup scene, as well as identify common issues and solutions.
The initiative would include the creation of an advisory board, a leadership council and issue-specific work groups. The money from the WEDC grant would be used to compensate three to five individuals to manage and coordinate the activities of the board, council and working groups.
The following groups have already committed to be members of the initiative's advisory board: BizStarts; The BREW; Center for Technology Commercialization; The Commons; FaBcap; MiKE (Innovation in Milwaukee); Midwest Energy Research Consortium; Scale Up Milwaukee; Startup Milwaukee; Urban Economic Development Association; UW-Extension Division of Business and Entrepreneurship; UW-Milwaukee; Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.; and Wisconsin Super Angel Fund LLC.
The Entrepreneurship Support grant program was open to activities such as the promotion of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial education, mentorship and training, and business development and financial services.
WEDC works to advance the state's business climate. In addition to these grants, the organization also offers other entrepreneurship resources like seed capital funds, investment tax credits, technology development loans and support for startup accelerators.