The state is awarding $500,000 in matching grants to support the creation and expansion of regional entrepreneurship initiatives all over the state.

The funds are being awarded through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. According to a release, more than 400 early-stage business leaders are expected to be impacted by this latest round of grants.

Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, says local organizations are in the best position to understand and meet the needs of their business communities.

The nine organizations receiving grant funding are:

*Green County Development Corporation of Monroe, with $80,000. This group will help new businesses get started in Green and surrounding counties. Its program is projected to help create up to 17 new businesses.

*UW Health Innovation Hub of Madison, with $75,000. This recently announced business accelerator program is envisioned as a hub for innovation around challenges facing health systems in the state. Led by veteran entrepreneur Thomas “Rock” Mackie, this program will help UW entrepreneurs with product development, accounting and legal guidance.

*Couleecap Inc. of Westby, with $70,000. Funds will support the group’s ongoing plan to expand regional services, which is expected to help create up to 35 new businesses.

*Concordia University of Mequon, with $59,000. The school plans to create a “cohort-based” education program aimed at low-income Milwaukee residents. BizStarts, a Milwaukee business development firm, is a partner on the project.

*BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation of Milwaukee, with $55,000. The grant will help fund the group’s existing HATCH pitch program for entrepreneurs. The group is planning three programs in three parts of the state, for nine events total. Read the full story here.

*Indianhead Community Action Agency of Ladysmith, with $41,000. This group is spreading its resources, supporting entrepreneurs in 12 rural counties in northwest Wisconsin.

*Janesville Innovation Inc., with $40,000. This organization will “build and develop” the Rock County Entrepreneurial Business Development Program, which helps boost startups in Rock County.

*Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council of Eau Claire, with $40,000. Funds will support the group’s business development services to “underserved and disenfranchised” in western Wisconsin.

*Oconto County Economic Development Corporation of Oconto, with $40,000. The group is helping new businesses get started in Oconto County.

A release from WEDC shows 22 applications were sent in for this round of grants, which went exclusively to programs taking place this year.

Since starting in 2016, this grant program has delivered $1.5 million to 26 organizations working with startups in the state.

See more on the program: