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Carper: GCDC marks banner year in 2019
Cara Carper

December is always a great time to take a step back and review accomplishments of the past year. What a year 2019 has been for Green County Development Corporation! Here is a quick recap of our very busy and eventful year:

In January and February, as part of our Entrepreneurial Development Program, we offered Food and Beverage Boot Camp. This intense workshop was taught by nationally-renowned small business guru Tera Johnson of the Food Finance Institute and formerly of TerasWhey. Boot Camp focused on the strategic and detailed financial side of business. Ten businesses benefited from this training.

In March, thanks to grants from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the William S. Knight Foundation, we were able to hire an additional part-time business consultant to work with entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Green County. Jason Schleip, who has special expertise in the restaurant industry, joined our team of Small Business Development Center consultants which also included Kristi Smith. SBDC consultants are available to provide free, confidential assistance to businesses in Green County.

In April, we hosted our Annual Meeting. Award winners included: Monroe Powersports as the Outstanding Business of the Year, Dairy at the Wegmueller Farm for the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, and Doug Pinnow for the Richard B. Schmied Leadership Award. Bucky Badger entertained the crowd, and a group of UW-Madison students presented the results of their UniverCity Year projects in Green County. UniverCity Year paired advanced UW-Madison students and faculty with Green County communities. Over the 2018-19 school year, more than 250 students worked on 50 projects identified by our communities. 

In May, along with Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, we released the Green County Housing and Workforce Study along with reports for the communities of Belleville, Brodhead, Monroe, Monticello and New Glarus. The studies found Green County will need an additional 2,578 housing units by 2030.

In June, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank presented the UniverCity Year program and GCDC with a Community-University Partnership Award for our collaborative efforts to address community challenges while exemplifying the Wisconsin Idea of expanding education and outreach beyond the classroom. Because of UniverCity Year, communities in Green County, that never would have contacted UW-Madison for answers, now have relationships with UW staff and a much better understanding of the vast resources UW can bring to our issues.

In July, GCDC learned we received matching funds from WEDC to start a new revolving loan fund. We began a campaign to raise $375,000 locally to receive the match from WEDC. Donations from local businesses and organizations will invest in Green County businesses, now and into the future. 

In August, in partnership with Green County UW Extension, we kicked off a new class of 25 Green County Leaders. Green County Leaders is a program designed to help participants practice leadership skills, deepen their understanding of community issues and prepare for leadership roles.

In September, we engaged local healthcare providers through the Talent Pipeline Management program. TPM is an employer-led approach to close the skills gap and build talent supply chains to meet business needs. GCDC is working with Northwest Illinois Economic Development to provide administrative help, but the process is driven by businesses.

In October, we convened our Executive Leadership Breakfast with award-winning author and human resources expert Kathy Ryan. Ryan presented “Fearless Feedback: How to Salvage Underperformers and Retain Your Star Players by Giving the Right Feedback” to more than 85 participants at the new Ag Center at Blackhawk Technical College-Monroe.

In November, we announced that, due to grants and the generosity of local businesses and organizations, Growth Opportunity Funds are available. Loans of up to $100,000 per business are available for growth companies such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture or food processing, information systems or software, medical devices, biosciences and energy. There is no job creation requirement to be eligible.

Now in December, thanks to the hard work of our business consultants, we are shattering our goals for our Entrepreneurial Development program. We’ve grown our impact from working with seven Green County businesses in 2017, to 50 in 2018, to nearly 100 businesses helped in 2019.

What’s ahead for GCDC? The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25. We’ll be announcing our speaker soon, so keep an eye on this column. If you have any questions about any of the programs outlined above, please check out our website or contact GCDC at 608-328-9452, or at For monthly updates, sign up for our newsletter on our website at 

— Cara Carper is executive director at Green County Development Corporation. She can be reached at