The Northern Wisconsin Economic Summit, hosted by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, was designed to gather together economic developers, state agencies, and business owners to examine the state's current economy and look at other ways to improve it. One of the goals the Governor set when he was elected was to create 250,000 jobs, and he's a little more than a third of the way there. He said much of that creation is attributed to small business growth and generation.
â??Weâ??ve gained more that 11,000 new businesses in the state of Wisconsin,â?? Walker said. â??For a startup business, a lot of times it's young people coming out of college with a new idea who want to be an entrepreneur. [We] help them with a â??Capital Catalystâ?? program that can help them as easily as getting the business off and going, and help pay part of their lease if they've got a good business idea.â??
The summit featured sessions with different state agencies, including the Department of Tourism. Walker mentioned the state is putting more money in the budget for state tourism, and that budget now includes more than just state and national marketing.
â??For the first time ever, our legislature, following Governor Scott Walker's lead, has given us an appropriation for marketing internationally,â?? said Stephanie Klett with the Department of Natural Resources. â??Really, our natural beauty is the number one appeal for them.â??
But what can Wisconsinâ??s economic growth mean for the Upper Peninsula?
â??We look at things like Marinette Marine and other things along the state lines between Wisconsin and the U.P., and we want to make sure we're working together,â?? Walker said. â??If an employer comes here or on the other side of the state line, it still benefits people in the state of Wisconsin.â??
The two-day summit will continue on Tuesday, December 17, and will feature keynote speaker Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Sessions will include topics such as the DNR Small Business Assistance Program, the Northern Wisconsin Labor Market Outlook, and discussions regarding freight transportation in Northern Wisconsin.