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Emerging Business Program


The Emerging Business Program was created to encourage the involvement, utilization, and development of economically disadvantaged businesses in the State of Wisconsin. Emerging Business participation dollar goals are established per county and are based on percentages of allowable construction costs established in the application submitted to WHEDA for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Allowable construction costs are noted in the Program Overview section of the Emerging Business and Workforce Development Program Manual.

  • 25% - Dane, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Walworth, Washington, or Waukesha  
  • 15% - Brown and Outagamie  
  • 10% - Sheboygan, Dodge, and Fond du Lac  
  • 5% - All other counties – voluntary participation

In order to participate in the Program, Emerging Businesses (aka vendors) must be certified by designated local, state or federal Certifying Agencies. WHEDA does not approve emerging businesses. The following are accepted program certifications. See the program manual for additional requirements.

  • 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise - or DBE
  • Emerging Business Enterprise - or EBE
  • Minority Business Enterprise - or MBE
  • Small Business Enterprise - or SBE
  • Women Business Enterprise - or WBE
  • Veteran Owned Business - or VOB
  • Serviced Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business - or SDVOSB
  • Wisconsin Department of Administration - or DVB

The Workforce Development Program, was created to enable unemployed and underemployed area residents in either designated areas or counties surrounding awarded LIHTC developments to obtain living wage construction jobs. For Milwaukee county, area residents are established by ZIP code. Additionally, owners and contractors are encouraged to: a) hire military veterans, and b) if pre-approved by WHEDA, retain employees that worked on another LIHTC development under the Workforce Development Program.

Unemployed or underemployed individuals, regardless of employment status, may qualify if their household income is at or below the Section 8 income limits established for their family size. Twelve (12) construction divisions of labor are used to hire for the Program. The desired goal is one hire per division. Owners or their representatives use the low income (80% or below CMI) Section 8 income limits for the family's size to determine eligibility for the Workforce Development Program. Refer to the applicable Metropolitan Statistical Area or county median income for the family's size.

All workers shall receive equitable treatment, pay and work responsibilities. Any worker hired under the program must receive, at minimum, a wage of $11.50 per hour. Pay rates must be comparable with those of other employees designated the same job title.


Review the Emerging Business and Workforce Development Program Manual & Guidance and forms for detailed program guidelines, benchmarks and requirements.

For more information on the Emerging Business or Workforce Development Programs, please contact Jesse Greenlee, Emerging Business Program Manager at jesse.greenlee@wheda.com.

Wisconsin's Skill Explorer

WHEDA is pleased to provide a link to the Wisconsin's Skill Explorer site. This site not only provides information on jobs that share similar skills, but is also intended to serve a variety of different needs. This tool can be used by the Employers, Job Seekers, Educators and Workforce Professionals.

Solicitation for Bids

The owners of proposed apartment or other buildings to be constructed, or existing buildings to be rehabilitated, may be participating in WHEDA’s Emerging Business and Workforce Development Program. As a result, the owners may solicit bids for the general construction work, or their general contractors, subcontractors or suppliers may solicit bids for portions of the work. As an accommodation to these parties, WHEDA provides information for those who may be interested in bidding.

EB Performance Reports

This report provides highlights, information and data on the program’s progress and the positive impact it is making to help spur local economies.