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Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin’s economic development agency have launched a $100 million fund to support start-up companies and entrepreneurs, marking the largest investment of its kind in the state’s history. The Wisconsin Investment Fund, initially funded with $50 million in federal money and $50 million from private investors, aims to help businesses grow and thrive in Wisconsin. The fund was announced at Forward BIOLABS in Madison, a nonprofit organization that helps launch startups, with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs who want to start, grow, and stay in the state.

To administer the fund, venture capital firms have been selected and are required to match each dollar of public funds with at least one dollar of private investment. The state sees a return on these investments, which is then reinvested into the fund, creating a cycle of growth and support for businesses in Wisconsin. Governor Evers emphasized that as the businesses receiving investments from the fund grow, so too will the fund’s value, opening up more opportunities for expansion and development for even more companies in the state.

The federal funding for the Wisconsin Investment Fund comes from the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, with the goal of supporting companies in various sectors such as technology, health care, agriculture, manufacturing, and more. The fund has already selected the first five awardees, including HealthX Ventures, Venture Investors Health Fund, Serra Ventures, NVNG Investment Advisors, and Idea Fund of La Crosse, with investments ranging from $5 million to $15 million. Negotiations are ongoing with a sixth fund manager to allocate the remaining $5 million.

This significant investment in Wisconsin’s start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem is part of an effort to foster growth and innovation within the state, with a focus on supporting homegrown companies and encouraging them to establish roots in Wisconsin. By leveraging both public and private funding, the Wisconsin Investment Fund aims to provide the necessary resources and support for businesses to thrive and succeed in the state’s competitive market. This initiative underscores the state government’s commitment to economic development and job creation, with a long-term vision of establishing Wisconsin as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.

With this new fund in place, Wisconsin is poised to attract and retain top talent and innovative companies in key industries such as technology, health care, and manufacturing. By providing financial support and resources to start-ups and entrepreneurs, the state aims to build a vibrant and thriving business community that will drive economic growth and create new opportunities for individuals and communities across Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Investment Fund represents a significant step towards building a more resilient and diverse economy in the state, with a focus on long-term sustainability and prosperity for all residents.

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