Business Resources

There are many sources of help for the business community.  The following are links to programs where grants, loans, training, mentoring, providing community statistics, writing business plans, and/or networking services are directly or indirectly provided.

Local Resources

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce is an organization dedicated to promoting the standard of living and economic health of the region. The chamber is involved in areas including development of human capital, critical infrastructure, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives all focused on the Fox Cities region. Services offered include worker recruitment, a Monthly Morning Business Advice breakfast, and information on economic and demographic trends.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Administration, whose local chapter is located in the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce building. SCORE volunteers provide confidential, free business mentoring in the forms of workshops, seminars, webinars and individual appointments.

Fox Cities Regional Partnership is a public and private partnership that works to build the local economy by supporting retention, expansion, and attraction of primary employers in northeast Wisconsin. Their website is a great resource for site selection and statistics on the Fox Cities region.

The Northeast Wisconsin Regional Economic Partnership (NEWREP) Technology Tax Credit Program provides income tax credits for high-tech business development.

The Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, a division of the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), works with the public and private sector to help provide affordable training and employment opportunities.  It also provides employers with access to employees.

The Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh provides free management counseling services to companies with up to 500 employees. Services include management education opportunities, entrepreneurial training programs, and grant and equity financing assistance.

Business and industry services provided by Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) offers local businesses employee assessments, customized training, seminars, continued education, and specialized equipment training.  One of their more outstanding programs is the E-Seed Program.  It is a 12-week entrepreneurship training series assisting in start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs developing management and planning tools for their business ventures.  No cost information sessions are provided, which discuss starting a business and provide information on the Entrepreneurship Training Program.  FVTC accounts for 22% of all contracted training revenue by Wisconsin technical colleges, nearly double that of any other technical college in the state.

Advocap is a private, non-profit corporation that offers a Business Development Program, which helps low income individuals gain self-sufficiency through self-employment.  The services offered to participants are business plan development, marketing plan development, and implementation, Small Business Administration micro-loan application assistance, additional financial resource development, managerial evaluation, referral services, loan preparation, employee recruitment assistance, completing applications, and various tax forms.

The Industrial Development Board at Winnebago County has been funding economic development activities since 1975 with their Revolving Loan Fund and Community Development Block Grant – Economic Development Program.

State Resources

The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit is designed to give innovators a guide to resources available in Wisconsin.

The Early Planning Grant offered by The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network provides grants to certain industries and also helps individual entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Wisconsin obtain the professional services necessary to evaluate the feasibility of a proposed start up or expansion.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provides a wide variety of financial assistance, and many programs to aid business.   Melissa Hunt is the WEDC Regional Account Manager of East Central Wisconsin. She can be reached at Melissa [dot] Hunt [at] wedc [dot] org.  A list of programs available can be found on their website.  Among those programs is the Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), which offers the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP). The program is an 8-12 week course that provides assistance with business plan development and is conducted through the twelve 4-year UW campuses located throughout the state. Thus, UW- Oshkosh is the closest university that operates this program.

The Wisconsin Angel Network is an important funding resource. The Angel Network has created and assembled the resources that entrepreneurs need to successfully raise early stage capital. It is a great resource for entrepreneurs that have not raised start-up capital before.

The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) enhances the success of Wisconsin’s small to mid-sized manufacturers by providing real-world knowledge in continuous improvement, business strategies and best practices.

Other State or regional resources include Forward Wisconsin and The New North.

Federal Resources

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) is a large, comprehensive resource that houses many resources and connections to other business development entities. The SBA does not provide loans directly, but can guarantee (the repayment of) loans. Among the services SCORE provides are online advice, face-to-face business counseling, low-cost workshops at 389 chapters nationwide, and free and confidential small business counseling.