WEDC operations plan details strategies for economic growth in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) received approval from its board of directors for its fiscal year 2014 (FY14) operations plan at the organization’s July 23rd board meeting in Green Bay, Wis. The plan and budget (available here) lay out in fine detail WEDC’s investment strategies designed to encourage business growth in Wisconsin in the upcoming year.
WEDC’s $69 million budget is both financially responsible and sustainable.
“The budget is balanced, meaning that our FY14 revenues equal our ongoing operation expenditures and programs,” states WEDC Chief Financial Officer Stephanie Walker. “We are also developing targets for our financial position and comparing our expected results to those targets.”
WEDC’s operations plan is organized by WEDC division with separate budgets for each department. Complementing the plan are full descriptions of each program WEDC administers, including the program’s goals, eligibility requirements, available funding, expected outcomes and performance metrics.
“WEDC’s FY14 operations plan clearly reflects our priorities for the upcoming year and presents our programs and anticipated investments in a manner befitting our commitment to transparency and accountability,” said Ryan Murray, WEDC’s deputy secretary and chief operations officer.
Among the bold initiatives detailed in WEDC’s operations plan are the following notable deliverables.
Economic Development Tools
WEDC will deploy Salesforce, a powerful customer relationship management (CRM) solution across the state’s economic development network to facilitate real-time data sharing and foster collaboration among partner organizations working collectively to retain and expand Wisconsin businesses.
The agency will also introduce a more user-friendly searchable database to track its investments. This online reporting tool will feature more complete award outcome information than is currently featured and an interactive map that allows users to filter data according to a geographic, industry, program and other parameters.
Minority Business Development
WEDC’s FY14 plan calls for full activation of four minority business revolving loan funds through minority chambers of commerce in Wisconsin and extends needed technical assistance to effectively activate these funds.
WEDC is introducing two new programs to increase the resources available to redevelop Wisconsin’s downtowns and industrial sites. The Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program offers grants to Wisconsin communities for implementation of redevelopment plans for large industrial sites that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for a period of at least five years. The Community Development Investment Grant Program will support urban, small city and rural community development efforts by providing financial incentives for shovel-ready projects.
WEDC’s support for entrepreneurs is demonstrated in its continued financial commitment through WEDC investment programs and partner organizations. Partners such as theWisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and the Center for Technology Commercialization provide a statewide network of resources and expertise with the goal of helping high-potential new businesses, including minority-owned business, move forward. WEDC also aims to increase startup activity by expanding its Seed Accelerator Program, which implements innovative business modeling, financing and mentoring. Investment capital for Wisconsin startups and emerging growth companies is supported through the Qualified New Business Venture tax credit program and WEDC’s Capital Catalyst Program, which co-invests in seed financing to provide critically-needed capital to advance startups and innovative businesses. WEDC will also enhance collaborative efforts with the University of Wisconsin System, including partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pursuing funding for commercialization activities throughout the state.
Global Business Development
WEDC will plan and execute six trade ventures designed to match Wisconsin companies with international business opportunities in priority markets around the world. In addition to collaborative international business development trips such as the Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference in Tokyo, WEDC is planning international trade ventures include Colombia, Chile and Brazil; Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic; Asia (Inbound); Singapore and Indonesia; United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia; and India.
WEDC will also help address Wisconsin’s skills gap challenges with high-impact workforce development pilot programs deployed statewide and the implementation of a workforce retention/layoff aversion initiative coordinated with Workforce Development Boards throughout the state.
WEDC will continue to make strategic investments in targeted industry development to promote industry growth, employment growth and new business creation in priority industry sectors that have the most promising potential for short-term and long-term positive economic impact.
With legislative approval, WEDC also plans to increase efforts to market Wisconsin’s business climate to company leaders looking to start, grow or relocate their operations here.
For more information about WEDC’s mission and operations, visit InWisconsin.com.