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Centergy News
Updates from your regional economic development alliance
September, 2010- Vol 1, Issue 7
In This Issue
Regional financing tools for existing and start-up companies
Executive Council meeting focus: competitive study
In order for Centergy to stay focused on our mission of stimulating measurable economic
development in Central Wisconsin in a rapidly changing environment, we routinely bring together top executives from our local companies.  Our next event with our Executive Council in early October will feature a summary of various options being proposed to make our State more competitive.  There is certainly no lack of recommendations coming from regional summits: the Wisconsin Way, the Be Bold Study, and the research released by the Wisconsin Technology Council, to name a few.  These suggestions include reallocating state development resources, tax issues, restructuring our educational system, consolidating local units of government, fiscal accountability, and deployment of resources to build our state's infrastructure.  

Our State is at a pivotal time in our history with changes necessary to rebound from the recession and political leaders requesting input from its citizenry now more than ever before.  As the saying goes, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."

We will share the collective results of our discussion in our October newsletter.
Alternative energy important to our region
Centergy's Alternative Energy Committee has developed partnerships with several state offices in an effort to increase the amount of alternative energy business development in the region and to help disseminate industry trends and financial/technical assistance. The Office of Energy Independence recently developed an incredibly useful Energy Statistics publication which can be found HERE. A summary of what it contains is as follows:

- Total energy use
- Energy used by type of fuel
- Renewable energy
- Energy efficiency indices
- United States energy use
- Wisconsin and US prices and average costs of fuels
- Wisconsin expenditures for energy

We also encourage local businesses to partner with our sister regional entity "New North" in their coordination of WI Wind Works - Wind Energy Symposium - to be held on October 13 in Milwaukee.
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Board of Directors
Centergy is blessed to have a strong, diverse board of directors from both the public and private sectors.

Meet them HERE.
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Greetings!
Barb FleisnerCentral Wisconsin companies sought to participate in Early Stage Symposium

Centergy hosts a chapter of the Wisconsin Technology Council (WIN).  We invite our area companies and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the many WIN events hosted not only in the Centergy region, but across the state as well.  Their next event is called the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.  The producers of this symposium are looking for cutting-edge companies from Wisconsin to present to investors at the November 10-11 conference in Madison. This annual conference gives selected companies the opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors. For many firms, participation in the conference has been a key factor for significant growth.
 
This year's conference is open to early stage companies representing an array of industries:  biotechnology, biofuels, and advanced manufacturing, to name a few-all areas of focus for the Centergy region.

Twenty early stage companies seeking capital will be selected to make seven-minute presentations to investors in the Wisconsin Angel Network Investors' track, along with being in an exhibit area where investors may speak directly to presenting companies. Investors representing millions of dollars in investment capital attend this event.

Fifteen companies will be selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics.  These companies will have the opportunity to give their 90-second pitch to a panel of at least five investors and receive immediate feedback. This is a great opportunity to pitch in front of five or more investors from different firms at once!

Companies pay no fee to apply or present, but must first register to attend the conference in order to be considered by WIN's steering committee for a presentation slot.

Register for the conference HERE.
For a complete application, click HERE.

Email confirmation will be sent directly to companies seeking this opportunity.

Please watch for a WIN-Centergy event to be held in the middle of November in which we will unveil the supply chain software for the alternative energy market in cooperation with the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative and the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

Barb Fleisner
Barb Fleisner
Executive Director
Regional financing tools for existing and start-up companies
Dollar Sign ImageSome time back there was discussion with the Centergy Board about the need to provide additional financing tools to existing and start-up companies in Central Wisconsin. Out of this discussion arose the need to better coordinate deal flow among established angel investment networks and to evaluate the pooling of individual communities' revolving loan funds being encouraged by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

Regarding coordination of local angel investment networks, Centergy Investment Partners has been formed. While still in its infancy, the region will have a better method of linking financing needs with investor preferences. More information on this initiative will be rolled out in the last quarter of 2010.

Concerning the consolidation of regional revolving loan funds, many thanks go out to the authors of the Central Wisconsin Economic Development Loan Fund who spent countless hours meeting with local municipal leaders to work through details and developing guidelines for regional loan execution. Pam Kolasinski of MCDEVCO and the Wausau Region Chamber very capably administer this new fund.  She can be reached at pkolasinski@wausauchamber.com. 

Requests for these low-interest loans of up to $200,000 can be reviewed and approved by the local communities.  Requests in excess of $200,000 must be approved by the Regional Loan Review Committee. A summary of the fund is as follows:

- Minimum of 10% equity is required on behalf of the borrower; with typically 50% loan provided by a financial institution.
- Interest rate of 2%
- Working capital loans not to exceed a 5-year term
- Loans for machinery, equipment, and fixtures not to exceed a 10-year term or the life of the pledged assets, the lesser thereof.
- Real estate loans not to exceed a 10-year term, but may be amortized over a maximum of 20 years.
- Monthly payments required (Under special circumstances, payment of interest and/or principal may be deferred for a period of time not to exceed 12 months.)
- No prepayment penalties.
- Unlimited personal guarantees are required from any person with a 20% or greater ownership interest in the business. 
- Typically, one full-time job is crated for each $20,000 loaned.
- Business must be maintained within the region for term of the loan while providing documentation on jobs created and other financial statements as defined in the contract.

Businesses who are interested in expanding or adding new technology should contact their local economic development authority or local financial institution partner.  Additional assistance may be obtained through Centergy.
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