Grant Money Available to Wisconsin Manufacturers

Funds can be used for lean implementations and product-development processes

Small and midsize manufacturers in Wisconsin are eligible for up to $6,000 in grant funds to improve performance and stimulate growth as the economy recovers from the recession, the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) said on Nov. 16.

The grants authorized by the Commerce Department are targeted to small and midsize manufacturers with less than 500 employees. Grants of $5,000 to $6,500 pay up to 50% of project costs for services delivered by WMEP. The remaining project costs are paid by the company.

Eligible projects include lean transformation initiatives, comprising a comprehensive assessment of a company's operations, identification of key competitive priorities and an action plan to achieve them, and a business-growth plan designed to help manufacturers rapidly generate and test new product ideas called Eureka Winning Ways.

Wisconsin manufacturers will need to be more innovative to remain competitive, said Mike Klonsinski, executive director of the WMEP.

"Unfortunately it won't be back to business as usual for Wisconsin manufacturers," he said. "The changes that were occurring before the recession -- high volatility, spikes in demand and hyper-competition -- are accelerating in the post-recession economy. To win new customers and market share in this global environment, manufacturers must have the best possible systems and processes in place to be highly innovative, lean and agile."

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