WEDC Program Deliverables Surpass Annual Goals
FY15 investments supported 26,822 jobs and $1.2 billion of capital investment
MADISON, WI. Sept. 18, 2015 – In fiscal year 2015 (FY15), the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and its key strategic partners provided financial and operational assistance to more than 5,000 businesses and 100 communities. This information, along with annual job impact and capital investment data, will be reviewed by the WEDC Board at its meeting on September 24, 2015. The final report will be submitted to the Wisconsin Legislature by October 1, 2015.
“This report shows that WEDC’s business development strategies have resulted in 26,822 more opportunities for our neighbors to find work and $1.2 billion dollars of capital helping our communities thrive,” said WEDC Board Chair Dan Ariens. “We are fortunate to have passionate staff who are committed to creating opportunities for companies to grow jobs here in Wisconsin.”
“WEDC continues to fulfill its mission of supporting business development in Wisconsin through innovative programs and responsive service delivery,” said Tricia Braun, deputy secretary and chief operating officer for WEDC. “We are pleased to present our Annual Report on Economic Development to our board, members of the Legislature and the people of Wisconsin to demonstrate the positive outcomes of our programs.”
WEDC’s Annual Report on Economic Development provides details not only on the agency’s own 351 awards from FY15, but also on all economic development programs administered throughout State government.
WEDC investments highlighted in the annual report include a $1 million Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment grant for the Reed Street Yards property in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. The grant will be used to help prepare the 17-acre site for a mixed-use urban office, educational, research and technology complex focused on the water sector.
Also in FY15, the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) launched the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) with support from WEDC. Also located in Milwaukee, this center will serve as a collaborative space where industry and academic scientists, engineers and business leaders come together to conduct joint research, jump-start innovative technologies, transition prototype products to the commercial stage and nurture startups.
WEDC’s business attraction projects resulted in $188 million of new investment into Wisconsin in FY15—including a $55 million expansion of Agropur’s feta cheese operations in Weyauwega and Pratt Industries’ new corrugated box manufacturing facility in Beloit.
WEDC also certified 25 new early-stage companies for its highly successful Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) Program in 2014, bringing the total number of companies certified to 167. $51.1 million in qualifying investments were made into participating companies, and QNBV-certified companies attracted an additional $123.1 million in outside investment during the year.
To help fill critical funding gaps that are restricted under federal SBIR and STTR grant programs, WEDC launched the SBIR/STTR Matching Grant Program in FY15. This program is being offered through UW-Extension’s Center for Technology Commercialization. The agency also helped expand the state’s network of startup accelerators through its Seed Accelerator Program.
WEDC also helped Wisconsin companies tap new international markets with successful trade missions and ventures to destinations including Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and Canada. Thirteen Wisconsin companies completed ExporTech™, an export acceleration program funded by WEDC, in FY15, bringing the total number of graduate companies to 100.
WEDC’s financial awards—comprising a combination of bonds, grants, investor credits, loans and tax credits—totaled more than $245 million for the year. These investments resulted in the creation of 7,496 jobs and the retention of 19,326. Additionally, projects contracted with WEDC in FY15 are expected to result in over $1.2 billion in capital investments in the state.
The benefits of WEDC’s investments do not end with the jobs produced or the capital investment made as a result of a single project. For this reason, this year’s Annual Report on Economic Development introduces data meant to capture the potential indirect benefits of certain WEDC’s investments. Formulas used to capture the indirect jobs that result from a project (“Jobs Multiplier”) and additional state income taxes paid as result of an increase in employment (“State Return on Investment”) combine to produce a “Forward Forecast.” This means an additional 5,817 jobs are projected to be created over and above the jobs required in WEDC’s contracts. Over the next five years, these positions will generate an estimated $144 million in income taxes, which represents a return on investment of approximately $1.85 for every $1 of State investment, not including state and local sales and property tax impacts.
WEDC publishes its Annual Report on Economic Development in fulfillment of its commitment to complete transparency. By gathering and making available economic development and business climate data, WEDC helps policymakers and other interested stakeholders evaluate the effectiveness of its programs as well as those operated by other Wisconsin state agencies.
The data reflected in WEDC’s Annual Report on Economic Development is also captured in an online, interactive map showing each award’s amount, recipient and outcomes. This impact map can be found at Inwisconsin.com/impact.
Once approved, WEDC’s Annual Report on Economic Development will be published on the agency’s website. The draft report that will be reviewed by WEDC’s board on September 24, 2015, is available for download here.
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