Questions Answered: Engaging National Site Selection Consultants
MARCH 26, 2013
WEDC has received input from site selectors about the best ways to share information with them and is using these insights to build an effective engagement strategy that achieves top-of-mind awareness of Wisconsin’s economic assets among members of this important target group.
What outreach has WEDC made to site selectors to make them aware of Wisconsin’s improving business climate?
WEDC participated in the recent Site Selectors Guild Conference in New Orleans and used this opportunity to introduce new positive messages about Wisconsin’s economic assets. As an event sponsor, WEDC had exhibit space in the conference center and displayed In Wisconsin banners and targeted collateral materials highlighting incentives the state offers to companies that relocate in Wisconsin. With funds raised from private donors, WEDC provided each attendee an In Wisconsin-branded iPad Mini with pre-loaded webpages featuring a welcome message from Governor Scott Walker and customized content regarding Wisconsin’s business climate.
More importantly, WEDC used the event as an opportunity to introduce to the 26 attending guild members new Business Attraction Manager Luke Fuszard, who will be the primary contact for site selectors and companies seeking to relocate to the state.
How will Luke’s efforts be coordinated with regional and local economic development organizations when it comes to site selection and company attraction initiatives?
WEDC will prepare detailed economic analyses that will help identify agreed-upon priority customer segments by region. This information will be used to develop a joint marketing strategy for each region of the state.
WEDC’s cooperative model will utilize a shared CRM tool and sales portal to allow Luke and his regional partners to share prospect information, business development tools and lead management methodologies. The goal is for all partners throughout the state to “speak the same language.” To this end, WEDC is in the process of developing a common template for effective RFI/RFP responses.
Once the necessary lead cultivation practices are established, WEDC will shift its focus to a proactive business development strategy that leverages regional partners as appropriate.
What channels of communication is WEDC using to share information with site selectors?
Along with personal outreach Luke will conduct, WEDC’s marketing department will deliver regular and relevant direct communication to site selectors. In addition to highlighting Wisconsin’s industry strengths, available properties and policy advancements, WEDC will ensure these consultants are fully aware of the incentives Wisconsin offers to relocating businesses. Site selector contacts report they are especially interested in case studies that show how Wisconsin puts its economic development tools to use to bring new businesses into the state. In addition, they said the relationships between regional, local and state economic development organizations in Wisconsin are truly unique and give the state a distinct advantage from a customer service standpoint. With this in mind, WEDC will continue to market the value of Wisconsin’s extended enterprise of economic development organizations.
WEDC is also close to launching a new website that will feature content specifically targeting site selectors and businesses looking to relocate or expand. Site selectors have identified state economic development websites as important sources of information, and this is most often where site selectors begin their research. With this in mind, WEDC is making sure the new In Wisconsin site that launches in April 2013 properly trumpets the state’s many economic assets that help businesses succeed—from local and regional economic development resources to the state’s world-leading industries, renowned educational system and highly skilled workforce.
Volume I, Issue IV Questions Answered: Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network
The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network (WEN) provides entrepreneurs with access to a statewide network of resources and expertise; identifies high-potential entrepreneurs and helps move their businesses forward; facilitates collaboration between entrepreneurs and organizations that assist them; and helps create and nurture minority-owned businesses. The “Network” consists of four regional offices and more than 400 people across the state that provide programs, resources and services to Wisconsin businesses.
What services does WEN provide?
WEN provides one-on-one business assistance, courses and grants to help entrepreneurs develop business plans. Programs include: High Growth LEAN, Main Stream LEAN Business Planning, SBIR/STTC Assistance and Access to Other Capital.
What is the High Growth LEAN program?
This grant program helps high-growth potential businesses (typically emerging technology companies) do a business feasibility study.
What is the Main Stream LEAN Business Planning program?
This is for businesses that aren’t considered high-growth potential businesses, such as retail, Web/Web app businesses and manufacturing. This program helps substantially cover costs of a six-week course and assistance of a business coach. This program uses LEAN start-up techniques leading to the development of a business plan for companies that have established market need.
What is SBIR/STTC?
The acronyms stand for Small Businesses Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). These are federal grants and contracts for innovative high-risk, high-payoff research and development efforts that have strong commercialization potential. These programs help businesses research, develop and commercialize technologies.
How do I contact consultants to explore service options?
Contact one of three regional consultants: Cheryl Vickroy, MBA, Director 3260 Grainger Hall, 975 University Avenue Madison, WI 53706 608-262-8082 Dave Linz, MBA, Consultant 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 6000 Milwaukee, WI 53203 414-227-3106 Pat Dillon, MBA, Consultant 210 Water Street P.O. Box 4004 Eau Claire, WI 54702 715-836-5056
Volume I, Issue III Questions Answered: WEDC & UW System Partnership
The University of Wisconsin System (UW System) — which comprises 13 four-year universities, 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges, and the statewide outreach networks of UW-Extension — conducts pioneering research and encourages entrepreneurial growth and innovation throughout the state. With total enrollment of more than 181,000 students, the UW System is one of the largest and most respected systems of higher education in the country.
How are efforts between the UW System and WEDC being coordinated?
Recognizing the need to align efforts between WEDC and the UW System’s Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee, the two organizations have created a jointly-funded Office of Economic Development. David Brukardt, the office’s associate vice president, splits his time between the UW System and WEDC, focusing his efforts on strengthening relationships between UW institutions and businesses statewide.
Who will benefit from this collaboration?
Students rightly expect that their education will serve as a pathway to careers in their chosen fields. Employers look to the UW System and other educational institutions to impart the skills required for today’s jobs and the jobs of the future. The UW System Office of Economic Development will help align education and economic opportunity so that both students’ and employers’ needs are met. The office will also drive awareness of resources that are available within the UW System to help businesses succeed. Ultimately, the people of Wisconsin will benefit from the increased economic activity that these connections generate.
How will this alignment be achieved?
Input from a wide variety of stakeholders has yielded numerous suggested action items that will help the office meet its strategic objectives. An example is the creation of a new Web portal to promote resources and talent available on UW System campuses and through the UW-Extension. An asset mapping project will help industry representatives make connections with UW experts whose skills can be leveraged to create business opportunities. The office will also work with WEDC to execute strategies aimed at tapping international markets.
How can I learn more about resources the UW System offers to businesses?
Contact David Brukardt, associate vice president, Office of Economic Development, University of Wisconsin System, at 608-262-3905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volume I, Issue II Questions Answered: Business AnswerLine
The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Network provides local, regional and statewide counseling and education to support Wisconsin small business creation and growth. One frontline service it provides to entrepreneurs is the Wisconsin Business AnswerLine.
What is the Wisconsin Business AnswerLine?
The Wisconsin Business AnswerLine is staffed by experienced people who can provide instant answers to small business owners (and their staff) in the state of Wisconsin. It includes an extensive document library as well as phone and web resources available at the counselors’ fingertips.
What are the most commonly asked questions from callers?
Those questions typically deal with starting a business, business planning, permits and licensing, insurance, legal entity types and business financing.
Who manages AnswerLine?
The AnswerLine was created as a statewide resource for the Wisconsin Small Business Development Centers.
How do I access AnswerLine?
When is the AnswerLine staffed?
Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:30-4:30 p.m.
Who can contact the AnswerLine for information about starting a business?
Businesses with inquiries about business planning, availability of small business grants, legal, licensing and insurance questions can call AnswerLine. Entrepreneurs or individuals looking to get an idea off the ground can also contact AnswerLine for information, resources and networks pertaining to starting a business.
When should a business contact WEDC instead?
Businesses seeking the following should contact WEDC directly:
- Early stage investment assistance
- Export assistance
- Expansion and support needs for capital investment and job growth or job training
Volume I, Issue I Questions Answered: Certified Sites Update
What’s the program about?
WEDC is working with Deloitte Consulting and economic development partners across the state to create consistent standards for industrial site certification. After training sessions at the Wisconsin Economic Development Association spring meetings, more than 12 requests were submitted to WEDC. Deloitte Consulting is conducting initial site reviews and gathering additional information on each site’s attributes. By the end of the year, up to 10 certified sites are expected to be identified, and up to 30 will be designated over the next three years. WEDC will market the certified sites through a special section on LocateInWisconsin.com and identify additional marketing opportunities as part of its initiative to brand Wisconsin’s business climate.
What are certified sites?
A “certified site” is a site that is determined ready for development and meets all basic requirements, including minimum size, availability of utility and transportation infrastructure, good physical and technical condition, environmental assessments, quality of labor force and support by local communities. The pre-certification process will eliminate many delays associated with site identification.
What’s the goal?
The program will offer site selectors, real estate developers, and economic development partners a way to better market available commercial sites in Wisconsin. Pre-certifying building sites will allow companies to find an available location for their expansion knowing they can begin building immediately. The program will increase Wisconsin’s competitiveness for business growth and job creation.
Mid-June to mid-August: Schedule and conduct inspection visits Mid-August: Send field results and certification notices Mid-August to October 31: Address and correct certification gaps
How do I learn more?
Kyle Johnson 608.210.6731