Monday, May 14, 2018
Focus on Calumet
A periodic update on economic development opportunities in Calumet County and the region for businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities.
A Tale of Two States: MN and WI Economies
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue Chief Economist, John Koskinen, has produced solid statistics that document the strength of Wisconsin’s economy as the best it has been since 2000. Koskinen’s data has been featured in this newsletter on several occasions. 

However, a May 8, 2018, report by the Economic Policy Institute provides a vastly different view of Wisconsin’s economy, comparing the Badger State to Minnesota, and showing by virtually every measure (according to the author), Minnesota’s recovery has outperformed Wisconsin’s in areas of job growth, wages, gender wage gaps, median household income, poverty, and more. 

There are valid points made in both bodies of research, but whether we see our glass as half full or half empty, our efforts to sustain and improve our local economy require our continued collaborative efforts. Our economic development job is never done.  A recent opinion article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offered several locally relevant ways to continue building on Wisconsin’s success:

  • Participate in capital formation and mentoring our innovators;
  • Attract and retain risk takers and entrepreneurs;
  • Adopt policies that spur start-ups; and
  • Use our University resources to develop and license new technology in the state.
Local Update
New Holstein Receives EPA Grant of Services:  The City of New Holstein was recently notified of their selection for EPA Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA) funding associated with the former Tecumseh property. The TBA will be used to assess building materials for the presence of asbestos, lead based paint, and other regulated materials resulting in a potential savings of $25,000 to $35,000 to the city. TBA activities, considered a grant of service and conducted by an EPA contractor, are underway at the property and are anticipated to be completed by the summer of 2018. The information provided by the TBA will aide in determining the cost of razing the property building and will also set the stage for the possibility of additional grant funding in the future. EPA's TBA program helps municipalities minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with Brownfields. 
SCORE Assists, Celebrates Small Businesses
SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. In existence for over 50 years, SCORE’s work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to their network of 10,000 volunteers are able to deliver services at no charge or at very low cost.

SCORE operates by providing:
·          Volunteer mentors who share their expertise across numerous industries;
·          Free, confidential business mentoring in person, via email, or by video;
·          Free online business tools, templates, and tips; and
·          Inexpensive or free business workshops.
 
The Fox Cities SCORE chapter is a very active group of volunteer business experts poised to support start-ups and ongoing businesses. During Small Business Week on May 2, the Fox Cities chapter celebrated their successes by acknowledging their mentors and recognizing some of their most successful business start-ups in the Fox Cities. Over a hundred small business representatives attended, including a number of Calumet County businesses that benefited from the program. The moral of the story: there is NO SHORTAGE of ways for entrepreneurs and businesses to get assistance, and there’s NO SHAME in seeking help!
Calumet County "Fun in the Sun" Opportunities
Calumet County has released a new two-minute video depicting some of the county’s best summertime events and attractions, including Chilton’s drive-in movie theater, Gravity Park with its new stock car races, the ever-favorite Calumet County Park, Calumet Beer Fest, and more.  Watch the video (below) and visit the county’s tourism website for details.
Nominate a Local Manufacturer or School for Recognition
Calumet County is a stronghold of manufacturing and educational excellence, and there’s an opportunity to help get the word out about our (sometimes) hidden treasures. The NEW Manufacturing Alliance (NEWMA) has announced it is now taking nominations for the seventh annual Excellence in Mfg./K-12 Partnerships Awards. In 2017, Calumet County had one winner in each category:  Brillion Elementary won in the Education Innovation category, and Dan Ariens , Ariens Company, won the Manufacturing Visionary Award.
 
Self-nominations are acceptable, and entities can be nominated for more than one category. Awards are announced in August and presented at NEWMA’s Annual Awards dinner in October. The nomination deadline is June 14.
First Group of Foxconn Subcontractors and Suppliers Announced
Foxconn and M+W | Gilbane announced the 28 subcontractors and suppliers selected for the first phase of site development work for the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park. The contracts awarded have a total value of $100 million and site development will require 500,000 hours of work and create 800 direct and indirect jobs. Following through on the 'Wisconsin First' approach, 27 of the 28 contracts were awarded to Wisconsin companies, including several minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. Among selected subcontractors and suppliers were Neenah Foundry in Neenah, and Panacea Group from Seymour.

This announcement is only the beginning. Calumet County businesses are encouraged to visit the Wisconn Valley website for details about getting involved.
Free Business Counseling Offered
The third Tuesday of practically any month one can find a counselor with the Green Bay Small Business Development Center meeting at the Calumet County Courthouse with entrepreneurs and existing business owners. Each month, free individual business counseling sessions are held to help answer questions and put businesses and entrepreneurs in a better position to make the best decisions for themselves and their businesses. To schedule an appointment with the business counselor, contact Mary Kohrell using the information provided below. The next session will be held on June 19.
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