What do they stand for?
acronyms for state and federal business-assistance
By Katherine Michalets - Special to The Freeman
March 7, 2015
- Acronyms for business organizations often are casually
mentioned in an economic announcement or in reference to a
new statewide initiative, but what do they all mean? And
what do these organizations do for businesses in
For business owners, knowing what kinds of services these
organizations offer can mean finding guidance when needed
or financial assistance when sought.
Below are some of the commonly used acronyms and a brief
description of the organization’s mission. WEDC
— Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (www.inwisconsin.com)
is a public-private entity that was created in 2011 by
state statute, 2011 Wisconsin Act 7, during a special
session focused on job creation called by Gov. Scott
Walker and the Legislature.
The WEDC established four key operational strategies,
according to its website: invest in companies and
industries that are creating jobs through startup,
expansion or relocation; advance key target industries and
consortia; strengthen our investment in communities and
economic development networks; and promote a positive
The WEDC is governed by its own board and is able to
conduct itself like a business. It also partners with 650
economic development organizations in Wisconsin to serve
businesses. An example of WEDC’s recent action would be
the up to $9 million in tax credits it’s providing Exact
Sciences Corp. in Madison to expand and create jobs. In
the recent State of the State address, Walker encouraged
the merger of the WEDC and the Wisconsin Housing and
Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).
WHEDA — Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development
is a publicprivate entity created in 1972 by the Wisconsin
Legislature to provide low-cost financing for housing,
small business and agricultural development.
In January, WHEDA announced three awardees of a request
for proposals to select fund managers to form and
administer $4 million in venture funds from the Wisconsin
Equity Investment Fund.
WEDA — Wisconsin Economic Development Association (www.weda.org)
aims to be Wisconsin’s “voice for economic
development.” It comprises more than 420 Wisconsin
Founded in 1975, WEDA is a nonprofit organization whose
professionals and volunteers “are dedicated to making
Wisconsin a better place to live and work through economic
advancement that focuses on retaining and expanding
existing businesses; facilitating investment and
entrepreneurship; and, attracting new companies,
employment opportunities and innovation capital,”
according to its website.
WMEP — Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (www.wmep.org)
is a nonprofit consulting organization that seeks to help
grow smalland medium-sized manufacturers in the state.
Since it was formed in 1998, WMEP has provided services to
more than 4,000 manufacturers, according to its website.
WMEP also strives to “raise public awareness about the
critical importance of manufacturing to Wisconsin’s
economy now and in the future.”
SBA — U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov)
is an independent agency of the
federal government created in 1953 to assist small
businesses with counseling sessions, loans and loan
guarantees, contracts and other forms of assistance.
The SBA’s mission, according to its website, is to “to
aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small
business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise
and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our
nation.” On Feb. 27, the SBA announced a partnership
with the National Association of Government Guaranteed
Lenders to develop a “Business Smart Toolkit” to help
community leaders build on financial literacy and basic
CTC — Center for Technology Commercialization (www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.
com) was formerly known as the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’
Network or WEN. CTC aids startup companies and
entrepreneurs, especially in technology-based sectors,
through the UW-Extension Small Business Development
Centers and its four regional directors.
The organization offers help at the early stages for a
startup and has been in existence as WEN since 2005.
Milwaukee 7 (mke7.com)
was created in 2005 to form a collaborative economic
development platform for seven southeastern Wisconsin
counties: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth,
Washington and Waukesha. The organization’s goals are to
grow, expand and attract export driver industries and
emerging business clusters, to strengthen the region’s
capacity to innovate and to increase the region’s
The Milwaukee 7 also worked with community stakeholders to
create a business plan for improving the region’s
economic opportunities, which can be found on its website.