MADISON – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has awarded the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. an $80,000 grant to support its Growth Accelerator program, which will help 10 entrepreneurial teams start or grow their businesses.

The WWBIC Growth Accelerator program will focus on startups in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties by providing education and training, mentoring, technical assistance and counseling, and financial assistance to entrepreneurs in rural and metropolitan areas. The grant will enable WWBIC to conduct two intensive, 10-week Growth Accelerator classes with five teams in each – one this fall and one in spring 2019.

During the program, teams will develop their business models by engaging in consumer testing; integrating input from customers, mentors and advisors; and communicating their findings to potential investors. At the end of the program, teams will present their pitches to qualify for a seed grant for $2,500 to $5,000.

“The state has a significant interest in supporting entrepreneurship and the development of new businesses for the purpose of long-term economic growth,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for WEDC, in a news release. “Under the leadership of WWBIC, this accelerator program will play a critical role in filling funding gaps and providing startups with the technical and financial assistance they need to become successful.”

WWBIC is an economic development corporation focused on providing direct lending and access to capital, quality business education, one-on-one business assistance and education to women, people of color and low-income individuals.