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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Local Government Assistance for Milwaukee Businesses

Local Government Assistance for Milwaukee Businesses

There are a number of programs set in place by local government agencies to help businesses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These programs are run by the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County who work in partnership with other outside agencies, both government-run and privately owned, to help provide Milwaukee businesses with the assistance needed to truly thrive.

Programs offered by these agencies range from financial assistance (including grants, loans, and bonds) to discounts and mentoring programs that help Milwaukee-area businesses be all that they can be. No matter of if you are looking for financial assistance to help renovate your business during hard times or a mentorship program to help your business grow, Milwaukee’s local government agencies can be of great help.

Financial Assistance Programs for Milwaukee Businesses:

When talking specifically about the financial assistance offered by local government agencies for Milwaukee-area businesses, there are several grants, bonds, and loan programs currently available. Here is some information about some specific financial assistance programs offered by Milwaukee’s local government agencies that might be helpful to your business:

Me² – Helping Milwaukee Businesses Finance the Cost of Becoming More Energy Efficient

Me² (which stands for Milwaukee Energy Efficiency) is in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability, and Focus on Energy to offer financial assistance to Milwaukee-area businesses who wish to become more energy efficient. By partnering with Me², you will be given rebates ranging from 10% and 60% of your total project costs, making your business’s energy efficiency upgrades more affordable.

Maximum incentives are $30,000 for small business projects costing under $50,000 and $300,000 for general business projects costing over $50,000. These incentives are given on a per property basis.

Please contact Timm Heck at (414) 333-2368 or visit the City of Milwaukee’s Me² page at for more information.

Façade Grants – Helping Milwaukee Businesses Finance Improvements to Street Faces and Signage

The City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development is offering grants to businesses to help improve the appearance of commercial areas in Milwaukee. There are two city wide grant programs – one for façade improvements and the other to improve the look of the city’s signage. There is also a Downtown Façade Grant Program available to businesses located in the downtown core.

Both the City Wide Façade Grant Program and the City Wide Signage Grant Program will reimburse up to 50% of eligible improvement costs, with a maximum reimbursement of $2500. The Downtown Façade Grant Program, on the other hand, will reimburse up to 30% of eligible improvement costs, with its maximum grant being $50,000 per building. Improvement projects must cost at least $2000 to be eligible for any of the city’s façade or signage grants.

More information about Milwaukee’s façade and signage grant programs can be obtained by visiting the City of Milwaukee’s website at or by calling the Façade Grant hotline at (414) 286-8201.

Brownfield Site Assessment Matching Grant – Helping Milwaukee Businesses Finance Environmental Site Assessments

The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in conjunction with the City of Milwaukee and its Redevelopment Authority (RACM) is offering grants to encourage the assessment and redevelopment of Milwaukee’s industrial properties with potential environmental issues.

The grant covers half the costs of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, with a maximum grant paying out $25,000. To be eligible, your business must already own or have plans to purchase the property and have previously completed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment on the site which is to be redeveloped.

You can visit the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation’s website at for more information about the grant or simply call them at (414) 286-5840.

Industrial Development Revenue Bonds – Helping Milwaukee Businesses Cover the Cost of Construction, Renovations, and Industrial Equipment

The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) together with the City of Milwaukee and its Redevelopment Authority (RACM) is issuing industrial revenue bonds to help fund building construction and renovations, as well as manufacturing machinery and equipment. Financing for the cost of land, site improvements, and engineering or agricultural studies is also available through the Industrial Development Revenue Bonds Program. These industrial revenue bonds are available at both fixed and variable rates and your total available bond amount will depend on your business’s assets.

For more information about the Industrial Development Revenue Bonds, please visit the MEDC’s website at or contact the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation directly at (414) 286-5840.

Revolving Loan Program – Helping Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) in Milwaukee Cover Labor and Material Costs

Milwaukee County is offering working-capital loans to the city’s disadvantaged businesses to help cover the costs of labor and materials so they can participate in projects being run by Milwaukee County. These loans are considered short-term and have low interest rates.

You can learn more about Milwaukee County’s Revolving Loan Program by visiting their website at or by contacting Mark Phillips at (414) 278-5104.

Milwaukee-area Business Mentoring, Cost-Cutting, and Fairness Programs:

Beyond financial assistance, there are other local government programs and services that businesses in metro Milwaukee can take advantage of. These include a mentoring program for emerging Milwaukee businesses and programs to help businesses cut their overall spending on water and energy. Milwaukee County also helps businesses in the area by promoting fairness through its contract monitoring and enforcement policies. Specific information about how each of these local government programs can help your business is listed below:

Business Capacity Building Program – Helping Milwaukee Businesses Achieve Sustainable Growth and Increased Revenues

The City of Milwaukee and the North End Project are currently running the Business Capacity Building Program (BCBP) to help small businesses in the area achieve sustainable growth and increase their overall business revenues. This program, which runs until May 2013, features one-on-one coaching sessions in an effort to provide businesses in Milwaukee with an in-depth assessment and personalized business plan. The Business Capacity Building Program also provides participants with business-to-business networking opportunities.

Please visit the City of Milwaukee’s website at for more information about their Business Capacity Building Program.

Discounted Water Rates – Helping to Make Milwaukee’s Water-Intensive Businesses and Research Facilities Less Costly

The City of Milwaukee, through Milwaukee Water Works, hopes to bring new businesses and research facilities to Milwaukee by offering discounted water rates to those requiring large amounts of fresh water to conduct their business. By joining the program, your cost per unit of water goes down as your total water usage increases. To take advantage of these savings, your business must use at least 25,000 gallons of fresh water per month.

More information about Milwaukee’s discounted water rates can be obtained by visiting the City of Milwaukee’s website at or by calling the Milwaukee Water Works Water Marketing Specialist at (414) 286-2803.

Milwaukee E3 Program – Helping Milwaukee Businesses Cut Costs and Become More Environmentally Sustainable 

The City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability’s E3 Program (E3 standing for Economy, Energy, and Environment) helps small to medium-sized businesses cut costs by promoting practices and technologies that are cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. The program is aimed at businesses that have between 20 and 500 total employees.

Please visit the City of Milwaukee’s website at for additional information about the Milwaukee E3 Program.

Contract Monitoring and Enforcement – Promoting Fairness for All Milwaukee Businesses in Regards to Milwaukee County Procurements

Milwaukee County is actively strengthening the area’s businesses by fostering local economic development. One key area in which they are finding success is through the county’s contract monitoring and enforcement policies. These policies ensure that all area businesses interested in participating in Milwaukee County procurements, including Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms, start on a level playing field.

Please visit the Milwaukee County government website at for more information about their contract monitoring and enforcement policies.

As you can see, there are many programs and services offered by local government agencies to help promote the growth and sustainability of Milwaukee-area businesses. Many of these programs are offered by the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, or as a partnership between the local government and other outside agencies. Regardless of whether a local government agency is providing your business with financial assistance, mentoring, or some cost-cutting incentives, rest assured that they are working with you for the mutual benefit of your business and the city.

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