Wisconsin’s Economic Future is in Our Roots

Right now, Wisconsin’s economy is at a crossroads. We have been reliant on the same set of industries, companies, and status quo too long. As we face the future, and a new type of economy, everyone is trying to figure out where we fit, how to change, and how to to bring Wisconsin into the future. The fact is, Wisconsin has always had the resources to do that.We don’t need to reinvent ourselves, we just need to get back to our roots.

Times are changing more now than ever, and every corner of every market is finding itself in disruption. With reminders like The Kauffman Index report, Wisconsin can no longer continue “business as usual.” Change and adaptation is a must to not just thrive but simply survive in this new economy. If you ask us where the key to the future lay, we should look to our state’s past.

Wisconsin’s heritage is one of innovation, progress, and growth. Whether it’s paper towels from Kimberly-Clark, or a Kohler shower unit, each day almost every person in this country, and millions more around the world, comes in contact with a Wisconsin product. Take a look around, point to something random, and there’s a good chance someone from Wisconsin could say, “Yeah, I made that.” But here’s the kicker, we’ve gotten too comfortable. We’ve gotten too accustomed to the phrase “it’s always been done this way.” The proven success of our Wisconsin giants has allowed us to forget the entrepreneurial backbone that started these companies in the first place.

If we look for the origin story of these successes, it’s found in garages, and barns, and basements. Just like our large manufactures, the Silicon Valley tech giants started in the same manner. We need to focus here! We need to rewire our way of thinking, retool the resources we make available, and upgrade Wisconsin’s operating system.

Small business accounts for 99.7% of all U.S. employment firms. Yes, the other 0.3% are large company mega-employers, but 2/3rds of economic development comes from our small businesses. While the current administration remains focused on feeding the big players and leaving scraps for the rest, we know where the conversation needs to turn. Let Wisconsin better support the entrepreneur so small companies can scale. Don’t sell the farm to just a few big companies, make it a place that thousands can grow.

Let’s help our legacy businesses get to the next generation while also helping entrepreneurs get out of their basements and barns.

Information from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue

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