Walker pointed to the Tech Council’s latest Wisconsin Portfolio, which showed the number of companies that reported getting investments increased by about a third and other positive indicators from the report that Walker said were “really compelling numbers.”
“I think it’s not just showing a couple of anomalies, but it’s showing an overall trend in terms of growth and investment,” Walker said. “We want to help build off that.”
But beyond the growth in investments, Walker said, is Wisconsin’s rank as 7th among the 50 states in new businesses’ six-year survival rates.
“That’s a great measure because it’s one thing to come out, have a great idea, get some early investors,” Walker said. “But the true test is whether or not you [stick] around.”
Walker highlighted several state programs that help startups and small businesses, from the Badger Fund of Funds to the SBIR Advance program that’s partly funded by the state to WEDC’s Qualified New Business Venture program that gives tax credits to investors who help fund eligible businesses.
The latter program, Walker said, added 21 eligible businesses last year to bring the total up to 178.
He also touted the state’s unemployment rate last month of 4.3 percent, a 14-year low, and the state’s labor participation rate being five percentage points higher than the national one.
“As we look at the future, we want to continue to see unemployment go down because employment goes up,” Walker said. “Whether that’s a company that’s got 5,000 employees and growing or whether it’s someone that starts out with 4 or 5, every new employee is going to be important.”