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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 and business development resources

Many people that ask for environmental assistance also have questions about monetary or other resources that are available to help them start or expand their business. You will most likely have to work with a lender to finance your new business or business modification. There are a number of organizations with resources to assist small businesses with developing their new business, not only with financing but also training and other types of support.

Getting started

  • 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.
  • WWBIC [exit DNR] has programs to provide training for both the novice and experienced small business owner. Classes include topics such as: business planning, marketing, estate planning, repairing credit, obtaining women and minority business certification. Many classes are available in Spanish. They have offices in Milwaukee (414-263-5450) and Madison (608-257-5450).
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides guarantees to lenders financing new business start-ups 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.
  • For an overview of things to consider before working with a lender, see Consumer Affairs’ article “How to get a business loan" [exit DNR].

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 focus on starting or expanding your business, and some loan programs address expenses to comply with environmental requirements. Other groups can help you find new markets for your products or services.

Pollution prevention and energy efficiency

  • The Wisconsin DNR administers Clean Diesel Grant Programs to help reduce diesel emissions from both public and private vehicle fleets across the state.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Many counties across Wisconsin are adopting the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) [exit DNR] program in their communities. Renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation projects for commercial, industrial and other buildings in participating communities may be eligible to receive low-cost financing. Participants enjoy no up-front, out-of-pocket costs; long repayment periods; immediate cost savings and increased property values. Projects for both existing buildings and new construction are eligible. Contact the Program Administrator at info@pacewi.org with questions.
  • 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].
  • The Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable [exit DNR] site provides a list of various funding opportunities (most involve environmental research).

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.

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: Wednesday January 31 2018