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Revamping Economic Development with the Small Business Guarantee

By 1997, it seemed that WHEDA had a program or fund for everything. On paper, having a product for every individual cause seemed practical, but in reality, it can stagnate economic growth. WHEDA was limited by what it could offer with loans; businesses that wanted to implement multiple improvements were forced to initiate several funding requests. This required multiple applications, and, therefore, multiple steps to receive final approval. WHEDA and its customers became tangled in endless webs of paperwork, which proved costly to both parties.

The WHEDA Small Business Guarantee (WSBG) program, which was introduced in 1997, provided a nearly instant cure for the paperwork headache. The WSBG combined multiple economic development initiatives to allow for a streamlined loan application process. The program, like many that had come before it, provided loan guarantees to local lending institutions, allowing for reduced risk and better interest rates.

The program’s creation, however, produced far more benefits than just lower interest rates. The creation of the Small Business Guarantee reduced upkeep costs for WHEDA, which allowed for a larger portfolio of diversified loans. In addition, the complexity of applications between programs was eliminated. Documents which once spanned eleven pages were reduced to two. For small businesses with operations of less than five hundred employees, these modifications advanced accessibility to products which allowed for continued growth.

As of 2022, small businesses in Wisconsin employed approximately 1.3 million workers who account for nearly half of the state's workforce. Therefore, recognition of the contribution small businesses make to Wisconsin's economy cannot be overstated. Hundreds of small businesses have benefitted since the inception of WHEDA's Small Business Guarantee program, and its operation has become a staple of WHEDA’s lending products. For more than 20 years, the program has guaranteed the success of small businesses of every shape and size.


November 26 through December 31 is #ShopSmallWI season!

Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation proclaimed November 26 to December 31 as #ShopSmallWI season. This campaign helps raise awareness of the need to shop small and support our local Wisconsin entrepreneurs. WHEDA is proud to offer unique financing tools that help Wisconsin small businesses thrive.


Learn more about Shop Small Wisconsin through WEDC’s recent news release.

Read Governor Tony Evers’ proclamation of Shop Small Wisconsin.