In 2019, small businesses in Wisconsin accounted for nearly half of Wisconsin employment, which exceeded that national share (SBA Office of Advocacy). To address local challenges, our Business Retention & Expansion Strategies Program is an economic development approach to proactively connect with existing businesses to further understand and respond to local business needs. This effort engages small businesses that employ less than 99 employees.
By conducting local small business retention and expansion research, the process helps stakeholders learn about local business challenges and future plans to offer clues about possible future actions.
The ultimate goals of our effort is to identify growth and retention needs for small businesses, and to develop a cross-sector approach to collectively design and implement strategies that help grow the local labor force, while identifying individual needs and connecting existing resources.
This Business Intelligence Team model is being introduced in Wisconsin because it is believed that small companies are very important players in our economy. While economic developers and educational institutions tend to focus on job creation as the end goal, we realize that your goals are more aligned with increasing sales, adding market share, developing new products, and making better decisions. We believe that by combining your experience as a business owner or CEO with access to tools and information you may not normally have access to, we can help you make decisions that might lead to growth on your terms.
The team used for this program will be a combination of a national team certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening and a Wisconsin team in the final stages of their certification training. All information discussed and posted to the website is confidential and protected by a non-disclosure agreement included in the registration process. The information is never shared beyond the assigned team or others you designate and approve to be involved.
See an outreach example with Mathison Manufacturing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGAFJoNVv18.
Extension provides economic empowerment through entrepreneurship skill development in cooperation with local partners to help families prepare to grow a small enterprise and build their resource network.
Going Solo creates an opportunity to explore starting up a business, learn principals and essential business concepts, identify business opportunities, and develop entrepreneurial skills for immediate application. The program also provides youth (ages 10-16), and their parents an opportunity to discover if starting a business may be in their current or future plans. Extension has conducted this program with over 100 families resulting in 11 small business start-ups.