Early Planning Grant
The Early Planning Grant program is designed to help individual entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Wisconsin obtain the professional services necessary to evaluate the feasibility of a proposed start up or expansion.
Under the Early Planning Grant program, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network (WEN) can provide you with a grant to help cover a portion of the cost of hiring a for-profit, in-state, independent third party to develop a comprehensive business plan. In addition to formalizing an entrepreneur's goals and objectives, a well-prepared business plan is critical in your ability to attract the capital financing necessary for your business to be successful.
Eligible applicants include Wisconsin individuals and small (50 employees or less) for-profit businesses, cooperatives & childcare centers in one of the following industrial categories:
• Agriculture/Food Products
• Information Technology
• Medical Devices
• Paper/Forest Products
• Childcare (not including in-home childcare)
ELIGIBLE PROJECT COSTS:
Eligible project costs are limited to expenses associated with obtaining a comprehensive business plan from for-profit, in-state, independent third parties listed in the WEN Private Sector Service Provider Directory. For a directory of service providers, click here.
INELIGIBLE PROJECT COSTS:
There are many types of professional services that are beneficial to businesses. However, given the limited funds available, eligibility is limited to business planning activities. Following are some examples of costs that are not eligible:
• Costs of applying for Early Planning Grant assistance
• Legal costs associated with establishing or incorporating your business
• Architectural, engineering and design costs
• Business valuation and/or appraisal fees
• Loan application/origination fees
• Costs associated with implementing your plan
• Software purchase, installation or development
• Web site development
• Costs incurred prior to the date the Early Planning Grant application is submitted to WEN
Applicants must provide a cash match of at least 25% of the eligible project costs from sources other than the State of Wisconsin.
The maximum funding available for Early Planning Grant grants is 75% of eligible project costs up to $3,000. There is typically greater demand for Early Planning Grant funds than there are funds available. As a result, not all projects can be funded.
In determining whether to fund the application and the amount of the award, WEN will consider all of the following, in addition to any other information it considers relevant:
• Industrial Cluster
o Does the proposed business fall within one of the industrial categories defined in the Eligible Applicants section?
• Project Viability
o Is the applicant's education and/or training relevant to the proposed business venture?
o Does the applicant have an acceptable credit history (i.e. no outstanding tax liens, collections, etc.)?
• Other Factors
o Does the project serve a public purpose?
o How many jobs will be created/retained and what will be the wage rate and benefit package?
o Will the proposed business be located in a target area?
THE APPLICATION PROCESS:
Applications for Early Planning Grant funding must be submitted electronically here. For more information or for technical assistance please contact email@example.com or call 608-263-7794.