In May of 2016, Waukesha County, the Waukesha County Business Alliance, the City of Waukesha and the University of Wisconsin-Small Business Development Center (SBDC) signed a partnership agreement to create the Waukesha County Center for Growth. The agreement set into motion the Business Growth Strategy developed by a task force convened by County Executive Paul Farrow to determine a future course of action for Economic Development in the County.
The Business Growth Strategy called for:
- Creating the Center for Growth as a central point of contact for businesses looking to start, expand or locate in the County
- Meeting regularly with businesses to learn of their needs
- Understanding the workforce needs of businesses in particular and addressing those needs
- Creating a locally controlled Revolving Loan Fund (The GROW Fund) to provide business expansion financing and help sustain the organization.
More than 40 people lent their time and talents to the original Business Growth Strategy and more than 50 people did so again in 2019 to refresh the Growth Strategy, which was released on our third anniversary.
Over the last four years, municipal partners have grown to include 12 Cities and Villages within the County. The Center for Growth, with the active involvement of many partners, has worked with more than 700 businesses and assisted more than 60 firms to locate, start operations or expand in Waukesha County. Those companies have invested more than $210 million in capital and created 1,700 jobs, while retaining 250. With the help of four local lenders, a $2 million GROW Fund has been created and the first loans have been approved.
In these unprecedented times, the need to work together to assist our businesses to reopen, recover and prosper has never been greater. Thank you to all of our partners for your support of the Center for Growth and for all that you do to make each of our communities and Waukesha County the great places they are to live, work and play.
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