Resources for Self-Employment

Wisconsin Programs & Organizations

  • DATCP – Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection – Farm Center

    The Wisconsin Farm Center provides information and support to farmers and their families to help grow Wisconsin’s agricultural economy. The Center partners with industry groups, government and educational entities, and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector.

  • Small Business Grants for Women in Wisconsin

    Businesswomen from Wisconsin are eligible to apply for business grants worth $10,000 to help women fulfill their entrepreneurial aspirations.

  • UWEX – UW Extension Agriculture

    If it happens on a farm or in a field, the Extension Institute of Agriculture works with you to achieve better results. Their innovative dairy management programs range from genetics to farm and business management. Extension researchers work together with row crop, forage, and fresh produce growers to provide best practices for every aspect of the growing phase. UWEX also advises communities on using sustainable practices to create inviting spaces free from invasive species. UWEX supports people, communities, and businesses.

  • UW School of Business – Free Small Business Consulting

    Free consulting to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Consultants can assist with: Business planning, financial planning for capital access, marketing and sales growth, and business management.

  • WDB, Inc.

    WBD, Inc.’s mission is to assist small businesses in gaining access to capital to grow their businesses, create jobs and build communities.

  • WISCAP – Wisconsin Community Action Program

    Believing that many low-income individuals have the ideas, skills, and motivation to succeed, self-employment is a viable strategy for many of those served by Community Action Agencies. For would-be entrepreneurs, the Job and Business Development (JBD) program provides a variety of services and access to financial resources.

  • WEDC – Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    WEDC offers extensive resources for training, grants, loans, and policy guidance for individuals thinking of starting a business or for those who would like assistance in honing their business knowledge and skills. This is a useful resource for researching up to date programs offered by the state of Wisconsin, which are geared towards business professionals and entrepreneurs.

  • WEDA - Wisconsin Economic Development Association

    WEDA is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to expanding Wisconsin’s economy. Through advocacy, networking, and education, WEDA provides members with the resources and tools to strengthen their skills in economic development, help achieve their professional goals, and promote economic growth in communities throughout the state.

  • WWBIC – The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation

    WWBIC opens the doors of opportunity by providing targeted individuals who are interested in starting, strengthening, or expanding businesses with access to critical resources such as responsible financial products and quality business and financial education. WWBIC focuses on individuals who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources in pursuit of their dreams and economic well-being, with an emphasis on women, people of color, veterans, and low-income individuals.

Federal Organizations

  • FSA – Farm Service Agency

    Farm Service Agency is equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans.

  • SBA – Small Business Administration

    Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

  • SBDC - Small Business Development Center

    Use the "Find Your SBDC" tool to obtain contact information for your local SBDC office. Wisconsin has multiple locations strategically located throughout the state. The SBDC is an excellent starting point for any aspiring entrepreneur or existing business owner. The website offers: business training, consulting, virtual classes, and resource networking.

  • Self-Employment Assistance Center (SEA)

    Supporting and fostering a culture of self-employment assistance SEA and entrepreneurship is an important priority for the public workforce system. The following resources provide insight relating to effectively initiating and supporting this priority:

  • USA.GOV

    A U.S. government sponsored website which serves as a resource for anyone that wants to start a business. An online database that provides federal and state specific resources. Topics include: Startup advice, finance and funding, insurance, regulations, and much more.

  • USDA – U.S. Department of Agriculture

    This page provides small and midsize producers with valuable resources and program information about access to capital, land management and conservation practices, managing risk, finding local markets, and other educational resources.

  • U.S. Department of Labor

    The U.S. Department of Labor Resources on Small Business and Self-Employment for People with Disabilities provides information, counseling, and referrals about self-employment and small business ownership opportunities for people with disabilities.

  • USDOL/ODEP – US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy

    ODEP encourages and supports self-employment and entrepreneurship among individuals with disabilities and has helped foster an array of partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels to encourage access to funding and resources to assist individuals with disabilities who are interested in alternatives to traditional employment.

Resources for Veterans

  • Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs

    The Department of Defense (DoD) appreciates the sacrifices made by veterans in the service of our country and is committed to making the maximum practicable prime and subcontracting opportunities available to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.

  • US Department of Veterans Affairs

    You may be eligible for these benefits if you’re a service member or Veteran with a service-connected disability, and you meet all the requirements listed below.

    All of these must be true:

    • You have an employment barrier or handicap, and
    • You’re enrolled in Veterans Readiness & Employment, and
    • Your service-connected disability makes it hard for you to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment (a job that doesn’t make your disability worse, is stable, and matches your abilities, aptitudes, and interests).
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center

    Provides business development services in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota for military Veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and their family members.

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Abilities Fund

    The Abilities Fund is the first nationwide nonprofit community developer and financial institution focused exclusively on expanding entrepreneurial opportunities, including access to capital, for people with disabilities.

  • SCORE – Service Corps of Retired Executives:

    SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. Since 1964, SCORE has provided education and mentorship to more than 11 million entrepreneurs.

Local Resources

Appleton, WI

  • FVTC – Fox Valley Technical College – Venture Center

    Thinking of starting your own business? Already own a small business and ready to take the next step? Explore the wide range of entrepreneurship offerings available, from classes to business planning assistance and prototype development. Classes and seminars are offered in a virtual environment, so anyone can enroll.

Columbia County, WI

La Crosse, WI

  • Launch La Crosse

    Launch La Crosse connects aspiring, emerging and established businesses in La Crosse County to a network of providers who can help with training, business planning, capital resources, grants, and much more.

  • CouleeCO

    CouleeCO offers entrepreneurs and business owners a collaborative working environment, entrepreneurial programs, mentorship, and grant opportunities.

Wausau, WI

  • The Entrepreneurial and Education Center

    The Entrepreneurial and Education Center provides a one-stop service for startup and existing businesses to access trusted advisors, educators, and capital to establish critical business practices that lead to successful business ownership.

  • Western Dairyland Business Center

    The Western Wisconsin Women's Business Center helps individuals interested in starting, expanding, or improving small businesses primarily in Barron, Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce, Pol, St. Croix, and Trempealeau counties. The Business Centers' services are designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to individualized and group business training, referrals, financing, technology, and ongoing business case management services.

There are thousands of other online resources that can be accessed for free. Please reach out to your counselor or self-employment specialist if you require any assistance in finding more resources that would be specific to your needs.