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.
- 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.