Wisconsin Rural Enterprise Fund

The Wisconsin Rural Enterprise Fund (WREF) was formally organized as a community-based Venture Fund to provide a source of equity investment for newly formed start-up businesses that eventually would provide high-skill, high-wage paying jobs for the Region and all of Northwest Wisconsin. The concept of a rural-based fund for Northern Wisconsin was a new approach at the time.

Since its formation, WREF has attracted a total investment of $2,125,000.

Investors include:

  • Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation
  • City of Ladysmith
  • Rusk County Industrial Development Agency
  • Pierce Pepin Electric Development Corporation
  • Bayfield Electric Cooperative
  • The Development Association of Superior and Douglas County
  • River Falls Economic Development Corporation

The WREF has made Equity Investments of $35,000 to $200,000, totaling $2,052,880. All of the companies involved were either start-up or early-stage and the investments by WREF assisted the company to leverage other equity funds.

Examples of companies in the fund include:

  • Fiberstar, Inc.
  • Paradigm Diagnostics, Inc.
  • BioDrain Medical, Inc.
  • Digital Data Destruction, Inc.
  • Sportsman's Marketing, Inc.
  • Fresh Aire Screen Technology LLC
  • American Oats, Inc.
  • Real Time Translation, Inc.
  • Energy Print, Inc.
  • US Food and Pharmaceuticals

These companies among others the WREF assisted are evidence that new hi-tech firms can be created and be successful in rural Northwest Wisconsin.

Please see our list of Business Resources for general information and resources on business development.