Wisconsin Small Business Loans and Grants
Small business often struggle to remain afloat or to get themselves going due to cash flow issues. Thanks to Wisconsin’s robust support network of loans, grants, and investments, small businesses are more equipped to succeed.
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Small businesses just starting out in the world and companies struggling to grow can benefit from business financing. By putting more money into their small businesses, owners may be able to retain top-quality talent, provide better training, and branch into new markets.
Exploring your options for small business grants and loans can be the first step toward improving the productivity and success of your business, so check out our guide to help you get started.
On this page:
- Wisconsin Small Business Loans
- Wisconsin Small Business Grants
- Small Business Investors in Wisconsin
- Getting Your Business Ready for Financing
- What Kind of Financing Do You Need?
Wisconsin Small Business Loans
As low as 6.00%
$5,000 – $2 million
1 – 5 years
The above information is for the Lendio Business Term Loan.
Lendio is the largest small business loan marketplace in the U.S. with a network of over 300+ lenders. These lenders include PayPal, Bank of America, American Express, and more.
You can apply with one simple application without impacting your credit. The application process can be completed online in 15 minutes with no fee or obligation. If approved, funds can be made available to your Wisconsin small business in as little as 24 hours.
- Short term loan
- Business term loan
- Business line of credit
- Merchant cash advance
- Business credit card
- Equipment financing
- Commercial mortgage
- Startup loan
- SBA loans
- Accounts receivable financing
- Business acquisition loan
9.77% – 35.98%
$5,000 – $500,000
6 – 60 months
The information above is for the LendingClub Business Term Loan.
LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender that connects investors with businesses in need of financing. To be eligible, businesses must have at least $50,000 in annual sales, as well as been in business for 12 months or more.
You can apply online in under 5 minutes and receive multiple quotes. If you decide to pay off your loan early, there are no prepayment fees to worry about.
7.00% – 69.00%
$500 – $250,000
6, 12, or 18 months
The information above is for the Kabbage Business Line of Credit.
Kabbage is a small business lender offering a business line of credit. The lender has a low minimum loan amount which can make it a good option for those in need of a small amount of financing.
In order to be eligible, your business needs to be at least 12 months old, with $50,000 in annual revenue.
Wisconsin Small Business Grants
Brownsfields Grant Program: The Brownfields Grant Program is intended to support community redevelopment in Wisconsin. Grant funding of $5 million is available for 2019 and grants are available with a continuously rolling deadline. Brownfields funds may be used for brownfield redevelopment or related environmental activities so small businesses keying in on these areas may be eligible for help from this Wisconsin business grant program.
ExporTech Grant: Grants for ExporTech are intended for businesses operating in Wisconsin that manufacture, process, assemble and/or distribute a product or perform a service that is exported. A total of $222,000 is available for fiscal year 2019, and awards go to multiple recipients yearly. The contract runs from July to June of the next year.
Amber Grant: Amber grants are intended for women business-owners. Applications are accepted monthly for awards of $2,000 and a yearly winner will receive $25,000. Judges look for passionate business ideas in any field, from dog walkers to science startups. There is a $15 application fee.
Global Business Development Program: This grant program, like the ExporTech grant, encourages businesses to expand their offerings to exports. Awards range from $25,000 to $150,000 and grants are awarded in response to an ongoing online application process.
Wisconsin Focus on Energy: This environmental group offers grants to businesses that either work as environmental allies or need help going green in their processes. They specifically tend to help small businesses whose processes are stalled due to lack of capital. Awards range from $25,000 to $500,000; however, it is important to note that while this program is advertised by the state as a grant, it is instead an interest-free loan. There is no deadline for application.
Small Business Investors in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Investment Partners: As a leading angel investor and business incubator, WIP focuses on assisting small businesses in the life science and technology sectors. They invest $3.5 to $4 million annually, and WIP is among the top 10 most active angel groups nationally.
4490 Investors: In the venture capital arena, 4490 seeks to help small businesses in the software technology sector, especially in underserved areas. With as much as $8 million invested annually, 4490 prefers to invest in innovative small businesses that will disrupt their industry and that have the potential to grow.
Golden Angels Investors: Golden Angels is of the longest-lived angel groups. While their areas of expertise are primarily Healthcare Technology, Educational Technology, and B2B applications, all businesses are welcome to submit applications for funding. High-potential, high-growth businesses are welcome and will be reviewed by more than 100 angels.
Getting Your Business Ready for Financing
While your business might be in need of funding, it’s important to remember that banks, investors, and grant organizations don’t need to provide you with money. It’s critical to make a strong case for why you should be eligible for grants, loans, or investments. The Wisconsin small business association can provide resources to help with this, but some of the work is yours to do.
To start, work on improving your business credit score if needed. The most successful applicants have a score of 650 or higher, and higher is better. Next, consider writing a strong business plan. A good business plan introduces the lender to your mission and convinces lenders you have a solid plan for the future. While not all applications require a business plan, it’s helpful to have one to demonstrate you’ll be able to pay back the loan, plus interest, as you promise.
While you are not always required to show P&L statements, have a business bank account, or hold a business credit card, having these things may also help prove your legitimacy and smooth the way for financing approval.
What Kind of Financing Do You Need?
SBA loans, business lines of credit, angel investing—seeing all these terms can make even the most savvy business manager’s head spin. How can you tell which means of funding best suits your small business? It’s important to consider not only what each type of funding is primarily geared for but also what your business is experiencing at the moment.
For example, venture capital may not be the right choice for your small business if you are not in technology or software-oriented fields, as most venture capital tends to invest in these types of businesses that have a very quick growth strategy. If you need ongoing capital, a line of credit may be a better choice instead. Lines of credit become available again once you pay them off; this differentiates them from a loan, which is a one-time cash disbursement that must then be paid back.
On the other hand, if you need a fixed sum of money for a one-off purchase such as equipment, consider a secured loan from a bank. A loan will provide a lump sum cash payment to ensure you can make that critical purchase. While you may be able to make the same purchase on a line of credit, loans tend to be approved for larger amounts—you may be unable to find a line of credit big enough to finance your purchase.
Angel investing is also great option for businesses who are in a solid and sustainable place but hope for long-term growth. Because angel investing is not a guarantee, businesses in need of cash fast should not be relying on it.
Wisconsin small business financing can be a tricky issue, but there are a wide variety of options. Thanks to a large number of small business grants in Wisconsin — alongside other financing such as loans and angel investing — small companies may have an easier time than they expect finding the support they need to grow.
Author: Jeff Gitlen