Wisconsin has a rich history of entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas and diligent efforts have led to the development of products known worldwide. Not just in major cities but in communities throughout the state, entrepreneurship is a crucial force to propel the state’s economy into a vibrant future through the development of new businesses.

Through the Entrepreneurship Support Program, WEDC is helping to strengthen entrepreneurial communities and support new ventures through promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the success of Wisconsin entrepreneurs.

This program is a component of WEDC’s Capacity Building Grant Program.

How it works

The second round of the fiscal year 2020-21 Community Building Entrepreneurial Support (CBES) program focuses on opportunities which will support business growth and development for Wisconsin entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ, minority, veterans and women communities. WEDC will award a total of $200,000 to activities and programs that will enable and enhance access for founders from the referenced communities. Prior CBES competitive submissions have not focused specifically on these communities, so this application period is looking for programs which will expand opportunities to strengthen the business cases for these founders. Application acceptance will begin February 8, 2021 and end on March 8, 2021.

Eligibility requirements

Entrepreneurship Support grants will be awarded through one annual competitive process, with applications evaluated based on criteria including project alignment with program goals, applicant experience, project uniqueness, service need, impact, service area, collaboration and financial need. All complete applications that are submitted will be ranked to determine final award recipients.

Phase two eligibility is extended to only Wisconsin nonprofit organizations or communities focused on developing and supporting diverse entrepreneurship opportunities for minorities, women, veterans and LGBTQ individuals.

Applicants are required to contribute matching funds equal to the amount of WEDC grant funding requested, which may include in-kind contributions of no more than 50% of the total match required.

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