Today, Governor Scott Walker announced a partnership between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Whitewater Community Development Authority (CDA) to provide early stage capital to area entrepreneurs.
"This partnership between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Whitewater Community Development Authority is an innovative model to advance aspiring entrepreneurs to successful business operation and job creation," said Governor Scott Walker.
WEDC is providing a $150,000 "Capital Catalyst" matching grant to the CDA which will be used for grants to new-start companies and to assist the emerging businesses selected. The CDA is providing a dollar for dollar match of the award.
"This investment by WEDC and the Whitewater Community Development Authority will help fill a gap of much needed seed capital for entrepreneurs in the area," said Lisa Johnson, vice president of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for WEDC.
During the Governor's visit to the Whitewater Innovation Center, the CDA presented Date Check Pro and Got Apps, two area entrepreneurs, the first grants from the fund. The CDA provide both with a $10,000 grant to assist the companies in their business development. Read more about their stories below.
"We are honored and privileged to partner with the State of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on this very innovative and necessary tool to enhance economic development and job creation in Whitewater and the state," said Jeffery Knight, Chairman of the Whitewater Community Development Authority. "Date Check Pro and Got Apps, Inc. are two prime examples on how this fund has created opportunities locally and will only expand as we implement the program in its entirety. I want to thank Governor Walker and his administration for their forward looking and innovative efforts to expand economic development in Wisconsin."
"UW-Whitewater has a strong commitment to entrepreneurship both in terms of scholarship and hands-on support of students who are developing and building new businesses," said UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer. "These funds will help support those efforts and help reinforce the strength of the Whitewater community. We are grateful to Gov. Walker, the Wisconsin Economic Development Council and the Whitewater Community Development Authority for their work to secure these funds. This is just another example of how UW-Whitewater and the city of Whitewater work together to make a difference in our region."
"This is a tremendous opportunity for the Whitewater Community and the new start-ups and early stage businesses in the Whitewater area," said Cameron Clapper, City Manager for the City of Whitewater.
"So often great innovations and opportunities come along but lack the capital funding needed to get off the ground. This program will provide entrepreneurs with needed funding to move their businesses forward, making their dreams become reality. We are fortunate in Whitewater to have such a proactive, visionary CDA and a strong, collaborative relationship between the City and University. This program is the direct result of those collaborative efforts and the backing of the WEDC. Without the support of the WEDC, I don't think we could have moved this program so far so fast," said Clapper.
The CDA is the economic development organization for the City of Whitewater. The CDA encourages and helps people and businesses to invest in the city, creating jobs, increasing the tax base and improving the community's quality of life.
WEDC's Capital Catalyst program provides grants to regional organizations or communities to leverage matching funds to provide seed funding for start-up and emerging companies. This is the second investment made by WEDC in a regional fund. The first was made in October 2012 to the Innovation Fund of Western Wisconsin in Eau Claire.
The CDA will create an investment committee which will establish criteria for awarding grants and an application process, and oversee the administration of the seed funds. Funds are to be invested into Wisconsin innovation-based businesses. Some of the industry sectors of focus include advanced manufacturing, agriculture/food processing, information systems/software, medical device, renewable/green energy.
The award made by WEDC requires at least one-third of funds allocated by WEDC ($50,000) as direct grants not to exceed $10,000 per business. The CDA must award the remaining two-thirds of the funds awarded by WEDC and the match (total of at least $250,000) to Wisconsin start-up businesses.