Early Planning Grant

Potential funding for up to 75% of the cost to prepare a business plan (to a maximum of $3,000.00). 25% of costs must be supplied by the business owner.


Eligible applicants include Wisconsin individuals, for-profit businesses, cooperatives and childcare centers that have fewer than 50 employees whose business will be one of the following Industrial Clusters”

•  Automation
•  Agriculture/Food Products
•  Biotechnology
•  Information Technology
•  Manufacturing
•  Medical Devices
•  Paper/Forest Products
•  Printing
•  Tourism
•  Childcare (does not include in-home childcare)

Note: If you are looking for business planning assistance and are not in one of the above Industrial Clusters, Commerce may still be able to assist you through its partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Entrepreneurial Training Grant (ETG) program.


Eligible Project Costs are limited to professional services necessary to obtain a comprehensive business plan from a qualified independent third party listed in the Wen Private Sector Service Provider Directory (http://www.wenportal.org).

Note: See the last page of this EPG application manual for an outline of a comprehensive business plan acceptable to Commerce.


Commerce recognizes that there are many types of professional services that are beneficial to businesses. However, given the limited funds available under the program, eligibility is limited to business planning activities. Following are some examples of project costs that are not eligible for EPG funding:

•  Costs of applying for EPG assistance
•  Legal costs associated with establishing or incorporating your business
•  Business valuation and/or appraisal fees
•  Loan application/origination fees
•  Costs associated with implementing your plan
•  Web site development
•  Software purchase, installation or training
•  Costs incurred prior to the date the EPG application is submitted to WEN


Applicant must provide a cash match of at least 25% of Eligible Project Costs from someone other than the State of Wisconsin.


The maximum funding available for Early Planning Grants is 75% of Eligible Project Costs up to $3,000. Applicants will be required to provide a cash match of at least 25% of the Eligible Project Costs.

There is typically more demand for EPG funds than there are funds available. As a result, the application process is competitive and not all projects can be funded. Furthermore, while Commerce can provide up to 75% of Eligible Project Costs, the actual level of participation, if any, is determined by a process that uses the following criteria.


•  Industrial Cluster

Does the proposed business fall within one of the Industrial Clusters defined earlier in the Eligible Applications Section?

•  Project Viability

Is the applicant’s education and/or training relevant to the proposed business venture?

Does the applicant have an acceptable credit history (i.e no outstanding tax liens, collections, etc.)?

•  Other Factors

Does the project serve a public interest?

How many jobs will be created/retained and what will be the wage rate and benefit package?

Will the proposed business be located in a target area?


Applications for EPG funding must be submitted electronically. To learn more visit  http://www.wen portal.org