Program Goal:

The goal of the Capacity Building (CB) Grant Program is to support local and regional economic development efforts in the state of Wisconsin.

Projects receiving Capacity Building funding must support one of WEDC’s Strategic Pillars and Focus Areas.

Program Description:

The program provides funds to assist organizations and local and regional economic development groups to further the goals of WEDC in its efforts to foster an advanced economic development network within the state of Wisconsin.

Eligibility Requirements:

Local and regional economic development groups may use the funds for purposes that support one of WEDC’s Strategic Pillars. Activities may include:

  • Local or regional assessments of the economic competitiveness of the area (e.g. workforce, infrastructure, sustainability, export capacity and competitiveness)
  • Initiatives that will assist or enhance an organization’s ability to develop or deliver economic development programming that helps to identify or address issues or challenges of an area or the state
  • Implementation or replication of successful pilot programs or economic development best practices
  • Marketing by regional economic development organizations. Regional economic development organizations may receive grants not to exceed $100,000 or the amount of matching funds the organization obtains from sources other than WEDC or the state, whichever is less, to fund marketing activities(1)
  • Delivery of resources and services to Wisconsin entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurship Support Grant

Capacity Building funding may not be used for past costs, nor may past costs incurred prior to application be considered for project match, if applicable.

WEDC may take the following into account when evaluating CB Grant applications:

  • The likelihood the proposed effort will result in long-term benefits to the organization, its members, the region or state, or its clients
  • The degree to which the organization can influence state or regional economic conditions (e.g. number of localities served, geography, membership size)
  • The extent to which the problem has been approached through regional collaboration with other economic development groups and other local jurisdictions
  • The extent to which the project will provide impact to smaller communities/rural areas of Wisconsin
  • The financial need demonstrated by the applicant
  • The extent to which the proposed effort can be replicated throughout Wisconsin

WEDC may require project match depending on the project’s attributes.

Capacity Building – Entrepreneurship Support

The Entrepreneurship Support (ES) Grant provides funds awarded through a competitive application process for the implementation of entrepreneurship programs. Wisconsin organizations may use the funds for the following purposes:

  • Promotion of entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial education, mentorship or training programs
  • Facilitation of business development or financial services

Entrepreneurship Support funding is not available for activities that are otherwise eligible to be funded through other programs offered by WEDC or its partners. Applicants are limited to one grant in any application year.

(1) Wis. Stat. §238.135

Incentives and Available Funding (FY19):

Capacity Building: $250,000

The amount of funding per project will generally be up to $50,000.

Capacity Building – Entrepreneurship Support Grant: $500,000

The amount of funding per project will generally be between $10,000 and a maximum of $100,000. Funds will be awarded through a competitive application process. Organizations applying for ES funds must demonstrate a commitment of a minimum 1:1 match of WEDC funds requested. matching funds may include in-kind support of no more than 50% of the total match required. Match should be calculated as a percentage of the cost of the entire project identified in the application.

Activities and Expected Outcomes:

Capacity Building

Assist local or regional economic development partners to support 10 projects.

Capacity Building – Entrepreneurship Support Grant

Assist 8 organizations and 300 businesses.

Performance Reporting:

Recipients will be required to periodically submit a performance report documenting specific project activities, as well as any other project deliverables.

WEDC may impose additional reporting requirements to evaluate project performance and to ensure compliance with contract deliverables.

Application and Awards Process:

The Capacity Building Grant Program has a continuous application process. Applicants for a CB Grant should complete an application through a regional economic development director. The completed application will be assigned to an underwriter and go through the award review process.

For more information on application review, internal process and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.