Aside from contacting your bank or credit union, a number of other financing options are available to help you start, grow, or expand your business. This list below is not comprehensive and is to help explore some options you might not have considered.


general financing tools

Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

MEDC serves Milwaukee businesses by providing low-interest loans. They share the risk with all participants in a project, lend in partnership with a bank, and lend funds at a higher risk level in order to increase the feasibility of a project. Loan amounts are generally between $100,000 and $250,000.



WWBIC offers: small business loans - access to fair capital through loans of $1,000 to $250,000, even for those who may have credit or personal finance issues; business education courses - in-Person and online training on a variety of valuable business topics such as business planning, financials, marketing, social media, web design, etc; and, small business consulting - one-on-one assistance is to help people launch and grow businesses. Generally, loans can be used for start-up capital, inventory and equipment, business expansion, working capital/lines of credit, build outs, and business professional support (i.e. marketing, accounting, bookkeeping, etc.)

financing tools for west st paul avenue

There are various financing resources available along West St. Paul Avenue from 11th Street to 25th Street. View available properties here

State & Federal Historic Tax Credits

Historic Preservation Tax Credits encourage private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. Menomonee Valley Partners worked to list the W St. Paul Ave Industrial Historic District on the State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, which allows property owners to access historic tax credits for redevelopment. Twenty two properties are eligible to receive a tax credit for up to 40% of their building's renovation costs, 20% at the state level (up to $3.5 million) and 20% at the federal level. More information is at the Wisconsin Historical Society and/or contact Michelle Kramer at Menomonee Valley Partners. It can take 3-12+ months to apply for and receive approval for tax credit projects depending on their scope. The point of contact for using the tax credit program is Jen Davel at the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Office.  Jen can be reached at 608.264.6490 or by email at

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West St. Paul Avenue Exterior Enhancements Grant 

The St. Paul Ave Exterior Enhancements Grant helps businesses improve their street facing exteriors to create a welcoming presence and show the activity and vibrancy on the street. This grant is a colloboration of the City of Milwaukee and BID #26 and provides a one-to-one match on eligible expenses up to $30,000. Contact Michelle Kramer for an application, more information, and grant timelines. Grants can take 3-4 months to approve and must be approved before work has begun on the project. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE:The Grant Review Committee meets at the end of each month. Your application must be received by the 10th of the month for review in that month.

 Third Space Brewing - Before

Third Space Brewing - Before

 Third Space Brewing - After

Third Space Brewing - After

 Plum Media - Before

Plum Media - Before

 Plum Media - After

Plum Media - After


city of milwaukee grants

The City of Milwaukee has assembled a toolbox of resources designed to jump-start a new business, expand an existing company,and support business relocation. Valley businesses use a number of financing tools, including New Markets Tax Credits, the White Box Program (up to $25,000), and the Retail Investment Fund (up to $5,000 per full time equivalent job created). Review options at the City of Milwaukee's website or contact Menomonee Valley Partners for help understanding what might be a good fit for you.

Financing Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Improvements

PACE Financing

  • PACE Financing allows a property owner to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements without a large up-front cash payment. Property owners repay their improvement costs over a set time period (typically 10 to 20 years depending on the expected life of the equipment installed) through the property tax system, therefore linking improvements to the property and not to the owner.

  • PACE Equity often helps to fill the final funding gap and finances energy efficient project components, such as boilers, windows, solar systems, HVAC, controls, refrigeration, cool roofs, LED lighting, fume hoods, and chillers.

  • They lend what they identify that they can save you – meaning it doesn’t cost you more than you would spend anyway due to energy inefficiency.

  • The minimum project size that are Participating PACE lenders will generally fund is $100,000, but there are exceptions; 100% project financing, up to 20% of property value; Investment may be counted as an operating expense and does not land on your balance sheet.

  • Learn more in this Urban Land Magazine article.


Better Buildings Challenge 

  • Learn if you might be eligible for a free energy assessment and which energy efficiency programs the city currently provides. An assessment reviews energy-saving opportunities in your building:

    • Steps include: preliminary assessment, walkthrough, identification of improvements (ex: lighting, HVAC, etc), operations/maintenance practice recommendations, analysis of savings and costs of capital measures, follow-up meeting to review recommendations which includes benchmarking and estimated savings if target usage met

  • Better Building Challenge buildings pledge to reduce energy use by 20% over the next decade

  • Once the assessment is completed, PACE Equity may be used to help finance the project or the property owner can pursue their own financing.


UWM Industrial Assessment Center

An industrial assessment is an in-depth assessment of a plant site, including facilities, consumptions, and operations. You receive a final report with baseline analysis, recommendations and cost estimates, and payback calculations. 

Offers FREE industrial assessments to help your facility:

  • save money on utility bills

  • use less energy

  • reduce pollution and waste

  • increase productivity

View program brochure which includes eligibility guidelines and download application.


Focus on Energy – Small Building Program

  • Designed for customers that use less than 100kW of electricity per month

  • Provides free lighting and/or refrigeration assessments (20-45 minute onsite walk-through) to identify opportunities for energy efficient upgrades in small businesses

  • Helps small business owners save energy and money with the installation of energy-saving products - starting at $199.

  • Business owners can receive up to $7,500 in products, such as LED lighting, faucet aerators, anti-sweat heater controls and installation services.