Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Press Release

WEDC Partners with Doyenne Group to Support Women Entrepreneurs

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation grant provides capital for women-led ventures

By - Aug 27th, 2015 10:14 am

MADISON, August 27, 2015 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded a $200,000 grant to Madison-based Doyenne Group Inc. to support women-led innovative ventures in Wisconsin.

The Doyenne Evergreen Fund will provide $400,000 in early-stage capital sourced from a WEDC Capital Catalyst Program grant and matching funds raised by Doyenne.

“At a time when women are the breadwinners in four out of 10 American families, it’s essential that we recognize and invest in this growing group of entrepreneurs,” said Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who attended the grant announcement at Doyenne’s “5x5x5” pitch contest event. “The $200,000 in matching funds for the Doyenne Group shows just how serious Wisconsin is about startups with women at their helms.”

The Doyenne Group is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in Wisconsin. Doyenne’s mission is to work with strategic partners to foster the founding and growth of women-led ventures by providing opportunities for networking, mentoring and financing.

“The development of more women-led businesses represents a significant opportunity for statewide economic growth,” said WEDC CEO Reed Hall. “The Doyenne Evergreen Fund will provide critical support for women entrepreneurs in seeding and growing their companies.”

The fund creates two types of financing opportunities with $200,000 earmarked for 40 grants of $5,000 each, and $200,000 designated for growth-supporting equity investments to select companies depending on the business need.

“The Doyenne Evergreen Fund is designed to offer more than just a source of capital,” said Amy Gannon of the Doyenne Group. “In addition to financing, our goal is to surround these entrepreneurs with experienced mentors that will guide them on strategic business decisions critical to their long-term success.”

Requirements of the Doyenne Evergreen Fund include at least 50 percent ownership by women, a Wisconsin headquarters and 51 percent employment in the state. The company’s products or services must also demonstrate innovation within its industry and have the potential to scale to a national level. The fund will be geared toward innovations in a variety of sectors, including but not limited to advanced manufacturing, food processing, information systems or software, and renewable energy.

WEDC’s Capital Catalyst Program, which launched in October 2012, provides grants to regional organizations or communities to leverage matching funds to provide seed funding for startup and emerging companies. WEDC has allocated $2 million for the program this fiscal year.

About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.

About Doyenne Group, Inc.
Doyenne Group, Inc. is a Madison-based non-profit organization dedicated to the support and development of women-led entrepreneurial ventures. Its mission is to build the network of women entrepreneurs within the community, and to promote, develop and fund their businesses. Doyenne is committed to challenging women to reach their fullest potential as entrepreneurs and leaders in our communities.

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