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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Starting a business in Wisconsin

Local Resources
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. The SBDC offers numerous classes throughout the year to help new and existing businesses improve performance and turn ideas into viable business concepts. Each year, a “First Steps to Entrepreneurship” workshop is offered in both Ozaukee and Washington Counties. The “Fast Trac” Entrepreneur Training Course, which is a nine-week intensive course geared toward starting and growing a business, is also offered once per year in Ozaukee or Washington County. All other SBDC courses are taught at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education campus in downtown Milwaukee. Check the website for course offerings. The SBDC also runs the Wisconsin Business AnswerLine, which provides counselors to answer your small business questions from 8:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. The Answer Line number is 1.800.940.7232.

BizStarts Milwaukee

BizStarts Milwaukee’s mission is to create a vibrant, innovative, and prosperous entrepreneurial business climate in the Milwaukee 7 region by inspiring, nurturing, connecting, and celebrating entrepreneurs and their companies. BizStarts has resources for all stages of entrepreneurship – from evaluating feasibility and market demand to planning to start up and running a business. The website has literature and pointers for small business owners, as well as a list of classes and events for small business owners and a listing of service providers in the Milwaukee 7 region. BizStarts has also partnered with the Small Business Development Center in Milwaukee to develop the Fast Trac Tech and mentoring program as part of the “Venture Track” initiative, which is intended to provide support and direction for high-growth, innovative companies.

Milwaukee 7

The Milwaukee 7 website has demographic information for each County in the seven county region, including Ozaukee County. The website also has information about the Milwaukee 7 resource center, which is located in the WE Energies headquarters in downtown Milwaukee at 231 W. Michigan Street. The center exists to support the mission of the Milwaukee 7 economic development collaboration to strengthen the economy of southeastern Wisconsin by attracting, retaining and growing companies and diverse talent. The Milwaukee 7 Resource Center provides interested parties with armchair access to information about prospective site locations, demographics, and the region’s cultural and leisure activities.


SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide. SCORE is a network of 13,000+ volunteers who offer small business entrepreneurs confidential business counseling services at no charge. SCORE also provides local workshops and events throughout the country to connect small business owners with the people and information they need to start, grow, and maintain their businesses, as well as online workshops available 24/7. SCORE provides resources, templates and tools to assist entrepreneurs in developing tools and plans they need to navigate their way to small business success. SCORE representatives will provide free mentoring services upon request at a mutually agreed upon location in Ozaukee County. Call 414.297.3942 to set up an appointment.

State Resources

Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation (WBD)

The Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation (WBD) was formed to assist small businesses in gaining access to capital in order to grow their businesses, provide job opportunities, and inspire their communities. The WBD provides the knowledge, service, and resources to foster economic development solutions that grow jobs, businesses, and communities. The WBD provides Small Business Administration 504 loans, which help small businesses secure long-term, fixed-rate financing. WBD also provides consulting and loan packaging services to banks and borrowers. The WBD office closest to Ozaukee County is located in Waukesha at W229 N1433 Westwood Drive, Suite 206. The Waukesha office phone number is 262.970.8533.

Wisconsin Business Wizard

The Wisconsin Business Wizard is a tool intended to help new business owners determine licensing, permitting and regulatory requirements; obtain necessary application forms; identify available state resources; and access other valuable business-related information. The Wizard uses a five-page question and answer tool to create customized information to help entrepreneurs start and operate a Wisconsin-based business. The site also has additional resources for starting or growing a business in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)

The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) is a statewide economic development corporation that provides quality business education and financing to Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. WWBIC offers educational programs, small business loans, and individualized business assistance. The WWBIC is located at 2745 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee. Call 414.263.5450 for additional information.

Federal Resources

US Small Business Administration (SBA)
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA website has information about SBA loans, disaster assistance, free online training courses, laws and regulations relating to small business, and a library of online resources. The closest Wisconsin District Office is located at 310 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Room 400, in Milwaukee. The phone number for the Milwaukee office is 414.297.3941.

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