The Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation has launched a fund to help entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground in the Oshkosh area.
GO-EDC this week announced its recently minted Greater Oshkosh Capital Catalyst Fund is now accepting applications for funding. The $250,000 fund was formed with $125,000 from the City of Oshkosh and another $125,000 from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Capital Catalyst program.
Audra Hoy, GO-EDC director of business and economic development, said the agency hopes the program will ultimately become an evergreen fund, meaning interest on its loans help fund future loans to startups. Companies that receive funding through this program are obligated to stay in the Oshkosh area while paying off the loan, with hopes of growing entrepreneurship in the area.
“I think this fund adds to everything that we’ve been doing,” Hoy said. “I think having a way to help these startups thrive is just another layer on the cake.”
Hoy said companies that target high-growth areas are more likely to secure funding through the program. That means startups in industries such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture, aviation and aerospace, IT and software development, medical devices and other fields. The fund isn’t available to companies in hospitality, retail or real estate.
Though loan programs currently exist for companies that have existed for two years or more, this program would be the first local lifeline to fund new companies.
“Supporting entrepreneurship is a key component of WEDC’s economic development strategy as a number of studies have recognized the impact that startups have on job growth and the overall health of the economy,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for WEDC. “This investment by WEDC will help fill a gap by providing much needed seed capital for entrepreneurs at the local level.”