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Check
to see if your business is eligible for confidential, non-regulatory assistance.
Explore
all DNR permits to see which may be required.
Find
resources to help you comply.
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For information about the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, contact:
Small Business Hotline
Toll free: 855-889-3021
DNRSmallBusiness@wisconsin.gov

Financial resources

Many people that ask for environmental assistance often wonder about monetary resources to help them start their business, expand or deal with environmental regulations. You will most likely have to work with a lender to finance your new business or business modification. While there is no free lunch, or free money in this case, there are resources to assist small businesses with financing.

Getting started

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides guarantees to lenders financing new business startups that they would not otherwise loan to. Work with your bank or credit union. They will get SBA involved if appropriate. SBA also has a wide variety of additional resources and can connect you with the tools you need to succeed, including counseling and business skill training. SBA has district offices in Madison and Milwaukee. SBD.gov [exit DNR] has contact information for the Wisconsin offices as well as additional information about their various programs.
  • Having a business plan is key to accessing funding, so you should make sure to have one prior to approaching a lender. SCORE [exit DNR] is a network of volunteers who mentor small business entrepreneurs. Mentors can help you write your business plan, among other things.
  • The UW School of Business, Small Business Development Center [exit DNR] also offers assistance with business plans, training, as well as one-on-one assistance through their hotline, the Wisconsin Business AnswerLine: 800-940-7232.
  • For an overview of things to consider before working with a lender, see Consumer Affairs’ article “How to get a business loan" [exit DNR].

Department of Revenue

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue administers the state’s major tax laws, including the collection of individual taxes, sales taxes, corporate income taxes and excise taxes.

Economic development assistance

There are groups in Wisconsin that can help you find a combination of funding resources, including use of local revolving loan funds, SBA loans, etc. Many of these do focus on starting or expanding your business, and some loan programs address expenses to comply with environmental requirements. Most of these programs will also have some business planning and financial training available or even required as part of their program.

Pollution prevention and energy efficiency

  • The DNR's water and wastewater funding sources page contains information about potential funding. Please note, much of the funding available is for governmental entities.
  • The Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable [exit DNR] site provides a list of various funding opportunities (most involve environmental research).
  • The U.S. Small Business Association has a Pollution Control [exit DNR] program which provides financing to eligible small businesses for the planning, design, or installation of a pollution control facility. This facility must prevent, reduce, abate, or control any form of pollution.
  • The Wisconsin DNR administers Clean Diesel Grant Programs to help reduce diesel emissions from both public and private vehicle fleets across the state.
  • With Shared Savings [exit DNR] from Alliant Energy, you can upgrade equipment, save money and conserve energy. Their energy experts will help you identify, finance and carry out energy improvement projects for your business - and will help pay for the initial cost of the high-efficiency equipment. Any technology that saves energy may qualify. They will also help you determine the most productive energy-saving technologies for your business.
  • Focus on Energy [exit DNR] helps Wisconsin businesses lower operational costs and improve their bottom lines through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Participating in their programs can help your company manage energy costs, control energy demand, protect the environment and promote in-state economic development. Some of their various programs include:
    • business incentive;
    • large energy users;
    • chain stores & Franchises
    • Small Business
    • Design Assistance
    • Retrocommissioning
  • The US Department of Agriculture provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) [exit DNR].
  • The federal government offers various corporate tax credits for renewable energy purchases, tax depreciations, tax exemptions as well as more information on both state and federal incentives and policies for renewables and efficiencies at DSIRE [exit DNR].

City-specific resources

  • Cedarburg [exit DNR] offers financing & personal assistance to businesses in energy efficiency.
  • River Falls [exit DNR], through River Falls Municipal Utilities, has a wide range of programs and services available to meet the needs of business customers.
  • Madison provides various forms of assistance for businesses seeking energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Milwaukee offers financial assistance with rebates through their ME2 [exit DNR] and Milwaukee Shines [exit DNR] programs.
Last revised: Monday May 08 2017