Wisconsin Plans on Using SSBCI funds to Bolster Venture Capital Investment

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.

In a significant move to empower small and minority-owned businesses, Wisconsin is harnessing the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funds to bolster venture capital investment across the state. This initiative, rejuvenated in 2021 with close to $10 billion in capital allocations to states and territories by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, aims to democratize access to venture capital, particularly for underserved and diverse-owned management firms. Wisconsin, among other states, has committed to utilizing these funds to fuel innovation and economic growth within its small business sector.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has announced the creation of the Wisconsin Investment Fund, a strategic $50 million investment pool. This fund is dedicated to nurturing innovative small businesses that promise to enhance Wisconsin’s economic landscape. The fund operates by partnering with professional venture capital managers to identify and invest in companies, ensuring at least a one-to-one match of private investments. This approach not only magnifies the impact of the SSBCI funds but also establishes a sustainable, evergreen capital base aimed at supporting the next generation of small businesses.

Central to the fund’s strategy is the focus on driving innovation and growth, with an expectation to leverage more than ten times the initial investment over the next decade. The initiative reflects a concerted effort to ensure small businesses, which comprise over 99% of Wisconsin’s business landscape and employ nearly half of its workforce, receive the necessary resources to thrive post-pandemic. The state’s commitment, facilitated by the SSBCI grant, underscores a broader goal of maintaining economic momentum by creating jobs and fostering community-based economic recovery.

Amid these developments, Develop America, Inc., plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between small and minority-owned businesses and the vital resources provided by the SSBCI and venture capital investments. By connecting these businesses with the necessary funding and support, Develop America, Inc., aims to unlock their potential for growth and expansion. This partnership underscores the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in the venture capital landscape, ensuring that businesses from diverse backgrounds and underserved regions have equitable opportunities to succeed.

Wisconsin’s proactive approach, exemplified by the Wisconsin Investment Fund, sets a precedent for how states can leverage federal initiatives like the SSBCI to foster economic resilience and innovation. Through strategic partnerships and focused investment, the state not only supports its small business ecosystem but also paves the way for a more inclusive and dynamic economic future.

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