The Wisconsin Tech Council is backing Gov. Tony Evers’ call for a new $100 million venture capital fund, saying it’s been one of the group’s priorities.

“Wisconsin has the talent, technology, research base and business climate necessary to attract more investment capital,” Tom Still, council president, said. “This fund will make Wisconsin more competitive among its neighbors and well beyond.”

The Main Street Alliance of Wisconsin, a network of values-based small businesses, is also praising Evers’ plan, which also calls for $200 million to help small businesses through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and $29 million for workforce development.

The guv’s plan also includes $1 million in the Fast Forward program to train workers in green jobs, which won RENEW Wisconsin’s support. The organization said the investment would tackle a shortage of trained workers in the rapidly growing clean energy sector.

“The construction of clean energy projects not only creates thousands of good paying jobs, but it keeps billions of our energy dollars right here in Wisconsin,” said Heather Allen, executive director of RENEW. “Without our own trained workforce, many of these clean energy projects may not get built or will be built by out-of-state companies and crews. We can’t afford to let that happen.”

In rolling out the budget initiatives Sunday, Evers touted the $240 million WEDC’s We’re All In grant program gave to nearly 55,000 businesses to help them during the pandemic. He said the budget he will introduce tomorrow will build on that effort.

“These investments will ensure our main street businesses, our workers, and our state bounce back and better than before by helping folks recover from this pandemic while investing in new innovation and startups,” Evers said.

“Compared to our Midwestern peers, Wisconsin has historically struggled to create a robust venture capital ecosystem,” added Matt Cordio, Co-founder of the Wisconsin Startup Coalition. “The creation of a new venture capital ‘fund of funds’ program would attract significant private sector investment, stimulate job growth and drive long-term economic growth across the State of Wisconsin.”

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See more in the Budget Blog.

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