UW–Madison Extension’s Community Economic Development Program is equipping entrepreneurs with the business skills and sector-specific information necessary to succeed in new entrepreneurial ventures. The Rural Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Initiative provides UW research and education to entrepreneurs and economic development practitioners who are interested in supporting entrepreneurial activity in rural communities. This initiative is a partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
The Rural Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Initiative offers multiple ways to engage. The Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference will host entrepreneurs, economic development practitioners, business and civic leaders, and more, featuring presentations to help small towns create environments for entrepreneurship to thrive. An annual event in other midwestern states, this conference is coming to Wisconsin for the first time in 2024. It will take place May 30–31 in Platteville.
Entrepreneurship is a crucial component of economic development, and strengthening entrepreneurial networks helps communities to realize the benefits of economic growth. Enter Homegrown, a training focused on building strong entrepreneurial networks. The training aims to give participants a better understanding of entrepreneurship and identify steps to engage their local entrepreneurial networks. Contact Extension’s Economic Development Program to get started.
Extension provides technical assistance for entrepreneurs focused on industries that require specialized knowledge (e.g., child care). Upcoming events include a training for emerging entrepreneurs in Vernon County, which is being organized by Extension and the Viroqua Chamber. This four-part workshop series covers topics such as building a business blueprint, financial planning and marketing.
Maximizing Success is professional development training for organizations that support entrepreneurs. The training aims to help organizations make their services more accessible to entrepreneurs of color. It is being led by the Entrepreneurs of Color Business Support Team.
Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) is a proven entrepreneurship development program that advances small town economies by using a targeted business approach. Launched in 2024, Wisconsin REV provides coaching and resources for communities to explore what economic development means for them. Wisconsin REV is being funded by Compeer Financial.