MADISON – The Senate Committee on Job Creation, Economic Development and Consumer Affairs will get a “progress report” on the state’s technology-based economic development legislation Tuesday in Madison.
A public hearing will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 23, in Room 411 South of the state Capitol to hear about the status of the 2003 Wisconsin Act 255, among other items.
Invited speakers include Aaron Olver, executive assistant to Wisconsin Department of Commerce Secretary Mary Burke; Terry Grosenheider, a former deputy secretary of the state Department of Financial Institutions and a member of the Wisconsin Technology Council board of directors; Tom Still, president of the Tech Council; and Joe Kremer, director of the Wisconsin Angel Network, a public-private Act 255 initiative managed through the Tech Council.
“The passage of Act 255 was a significant event for Wisconsin’s high-tech, high-growth economy, and the Legislature is eager to build upon its success,’’ said Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, chairman of the Senate committee and one of the architects of Act 255.
Act 255 established the following programs:
? Early Stage Investment Tax Credits. The Angel Investment and Venture Capital Tax Credit programs are designed to encourage investment in small, high-technology businesses that have high growth potential. Early-stage businesses conducting pre-commercialization activities related to proprietary technology may be designated as Qualified New Business Ventures. Angel investors, angel investment networks and venture capital seed funds may qualify for Wisconsin tax credits by investing in these designated companies.
? Technology Assistance Grants. The TAG program provides grants for early-stage Wisconsin high-technology companies to offset some of the costs of hiring qualified, independent third parties to perform services that assist businesses in securing private or federal funding.
? Technology Bridge Grants. These grants provide funding to small businesses that have received Phase I R&D awards and are struggling to maintain operations while they await a Phase II or other follow-on funding decision. Funds may only be applied to reasonable and necessary costs directly attributable to maintaining the research team and funding basic operations until the applicant’s follow-on funding or federal grant application is approved or denied. Only those companies that can demonstrate severe financial hardship will be considered for bridge grant funds.
? Technology Matching Grants. This program provides state dollars to enhance a small business’s federal R&D funding application (i.e., match needed to secure a Phase II SBIR or Advanced Technology Program award). Applicants approved under this program will not actually receive funding until approval of their federal application. Phase I applications are not eligible for funding under this program.
? Technology Venture Fund Loans. This fund provides low-interest loans to Wisconsin high-technology companies to facilitate the search for angel or other seed capital investment. This program and others complement existing state Department of Commerce programs, such as the Technology Development Fund and the Technology Development Loan program.
? The Wisconsin Angel Network. With a combination of state and private funding, WAN’s mission is to build angel network capital capacity throughout Wisconsin in order to increase the number and amount of seed-stage equity investments in Wisconsin companies. To learn more, visit www.wisconsinangelnetwork.com
? The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network. Through local and regional centers, this statewide network will offer business planning and access to capital and finance assistance, provide assistance with intellectual property and technology transfer issues, and leveraging existing public resources — as well as those available in the marketplace. It will also help businesses with high-growth potential reach the next level. The network is expected to assist more than 10,000 clients during its first year. For more information, visit www.wenportal.org
For more information on Act 255 in general, visit www.commerce.wi.gov/Act255/