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The Resources to Succeed

The staff of Driftless Development is committed to working with you to identify loans and incentives that will help you launch, expand or relocate your business in Crawford County.  Whether you are launching a new business idea or expanding to international markets, your business will receive support from Driftless Development and statewide partners committed to your success.  Please contact Driftless Development Inc. to discuss your specific project and the various ways we can assist you in achieving your goals.


In June 2018 A large portion of downtown Prairie du Chien (Census tract 55023960500) was designated as a CDFI Designated Qualified Opportunity (DQO) Zone.  The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established Opportunity Zones to spur private investment in communities throughout the U.S.

The Opportunity Zones program allows investment in communities through tax incentives that encourage private investment to accelerate economic growth and job creation. Investors are eligible to receive certain tax benefits on unrealized capital gains reinvested in Opportunity Zones through pooled Opportunity Funds.

Opportunity Zones are designated census tracts that have been approved by the federal and state governments. There are more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones across all states, territories and the District of Columbia, in both rural and urban locations.  Go HERE for a searchable address feature to indicate whether specific properties are in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

The purpose of this new federal income tax incentive is to encourage new investment in identified economically depressed localities. Identified as “Qualified Opportunity Zones,” this new designation is subject to a series of complex tax rules.

Investors can reinvest their gains from sales of stock and other types of capital assets into a QOF, such as works of art (including capital gains and so-called “section 1231 gains” from the sale of income producing rental real estate) and, as a result, take advantage of three distinct federal income tax benefits:

  • Deferral of the federal income tax on the otherwise realized capital gain by investing the “gain dollars” into a QOF;
  • Receive a partial basis “step-up” for the investment for the QOF. The 5-year (10% tax savings) and 7-year (15% tax savings) holding periods are measured by and between the date of acquisition of the QOF investment, and December 31, 2026;
  • Permanent exclusion of the capital gains arising from any increase in value and the sale or exchange of the investment in the QOF from federal income tax, if the investment is held for at least 10 years.

Tax credits and public-sector financing can enhance a project in addition to the Opportunity Zone benefits. For an overview of the program, read the Economic Innovation Opportunity Zones Fact Sheet

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a tool used to spur the development or redevelopment of an area. When a tax incremental district (TID) is created, all taxing jurisdictions—including the county, municipality, school district, technical college, and special taxing districts—agree to limit the amount of taxes they receive from the district based on property values in place when the district was created. The municipality agrees to pay for public improvements in the district in hopes of spurring additional private investment. As property values rise, taxes resulting from the incremental rise in value are used to repay the municipality. TIF districts exist throughout Crawford County including the communities of De Soto, Ferryville, Wauzeka, and Gays Mills.  Contact DDI to learn more about taking advantage of TIF’s in Crawford County.   Read more about how a TIF works.

Text adapted from Center for Land Use Education – UW Extension.  (2009). “Planning Implementation Tools Tax Increment Financing.”  Accessed online here

The purpose of the CouleeCAP Job and Business Development Program Loan is to provide low interest loans to low income (and receiving food stamps) individuals in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties.  Typical terms are 3% interest rate 5 year term.  Loans are provided on a case by case basis.  Typically there is no equity requirement 1 new job required at minimum wage and at least 32 hrs. per week.  Microlending loans are made between $500 – $50,000 and this program has the ability to partner with other RLFs and/or SBA Programs.  CouleeCap can be part of a loan package that includes funds from other RLFs as well as SBA programs. Currently the fund has 13 active loans totaling $209,788. Contact Information: Andrew Londre, Job and Business Developer; Coulee Cap, Inc., 2101 Victory Street, Suite C, La Crosse, WI 54601; T: 608-782-5525; E:

Text adapted from the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission Business Financing Guide, 2014

 The CMV Growth Development Fund Loan is targeted toward manufacturers, tourism and selected service industries that create jobs in Crawford, Monroe, and Vernon Counties in Wisconsin.  The loans are intended for gap financing and to aid with flood recovery.  

Typical loans are $7,000-$85,000 with average interest rate between 4 – 6 %, one job created per $12,000.  

Download a CMV Growth Development Fund brochure. Download a CMV Growth Development Revolving Loan Fund  Application in MS Word or .pdf file format). 

These are typically low-interest (4% in 2009-2010) 5-year balloon loan with 20 year amortization schedule.  There is a $100 application fee, a $100 administrative fee if loan is approved, and all closing costs are paid the by borrower.

Key Limitations or Requirements: Loan ratio: $2 of funding from private sources for every $1 from the CMV Growth Development Fund (i.e., the CMV Growth Development Fund can provide up to one-third of the total project costs).  Also,  at least one full-time job must be created or retained for every $12,000 lent by the CMV Growth Development Fund.  The borrower must contribute 10% of the total costs to the project.  Loan amounts are subject to the availability of program funds. Loans of $7,000 to $85,000 are preferred. The maximum loan amount is $100,000.

The CMV Growth Development Fund can be part of a loan package that includes funds from other RLFs as well as SBA programs. The Fund will seek to have the best collateral position possible to ensure that RLF loans are adequately secured.  There are currently a total of 6 loans with $250,000 loaned, $1,662,849 in private-sector funding leveraged, and 29 jobs created or saved.  For more information contact Greg Flogstag, Director, Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission; 608-785-9396;

Text adapted from the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission Business Financing Guide, 2014

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation offers a variety of grants, loans, and programs that may be available to businesses in Crawford County.

Business Assistance Incentives

Driftless Development INC specializes in assisting all types and sizes of business including existing, new and startups who want to call Crawford County home.  Our job is to identify local, state, and federal programs and incentives and help deliver every program available that results in business growth and job creation. From local low interest loan funds to grants and tax credits, we know how to access many resources designed to assist businesses in Crawford county.

Wisconsin has a wide range of programs and incentives to encourage business growth and job creation. The list below contains just a few programs and incentives for businesses. Looking to invest in Crawford county? Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you.

Business Development Tax Credits

The goal of the Business Development Tax Credit (BTC) Program is to incent new and expanding businesses in the state of Wisconsin. Click here to learn more or download the program flyer under Links & Downloads below.

Business Development Loan Program

The goal of the Business Development Loan Program (BDL) is to support the retention and expansion of businesses operating in the state of Wisconsin.

The program offers financing primarily to small businesses that have limited access to standard types of debt or equity financing, particularly, but not limited to, rural areas of the state. The program is intended to provide gap financing to existing businesses seeking to expand, increase operational efficiency, or enhance competitiveness in key Wisconsin industries. Click here to learn more or download the program flyer under Links & Downloads below.

Financing for Facility Efficiency Improvements

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is an innovative program that enables property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements. Projects financed using PACE can generate positive cash flow upon completion with no up-front, out-of-pocket cost to property owners—eliminating the financial barriers that typically prevent investment in revitalizing aging properties. The term of a PACE Financing may extend up to the useful life of the improvement, which may be as high as 20 years or more and can result in cost savings that exceed the amount of the PACE Financing. The result is improved business profitability, an increase in property value, and enhanced sustainability. Wisconsin Statute § 66.0627(8) authorizes Wisconsin counties and municipalities to make PACE Financing available in local communities. Currently, Jefferson County is a participating county in the PACE program. Learn more.

Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit

Starting in 2013, a tax credit became available for income derived from manufacturing or agricultural property located in Wisconsin. It will offset a significant share of Wisconsin income taxes. See the fact sheet under Links & Downloads below.

Property Tax Exemptions for Manufacturers

Machinery and equipment used exclusively and directly in the production process in manufacturing is exempt from personal property taxes. Click here.

Links & Downloads

Business Development Tax Credits (WEDC download)

Business Development Loan Program (WEDC download)

Incentives for Manufacturers (WI Dept of Revenue download)

Incentives for Businesses (WI Dept of Revenue download)

WI Manufacturing & Ag Credit Fact Sheet (WI Dept of Revenue download)

Interactive Incentive Finder

There are numerous tax credits and incentives available to businesses.  Select an Industry Type and Incentive Type to display the list of available incentives and links to information.  Click here.

For more information on eligibility, contact the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Business Customer Service at (608) 266-2776.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) delivers loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.

General Small Business Loans: 7(a) The Small Business Administration has several loan programs that can be used to guarantee small-business loans made by private-sector lenders. These SBA loan programs require a borrower to work with a private-sector lender, which then seeks to have a certain percentage of its loan guaranteed by the SBA. Before meeting with the private-sector lender, the borrower should complete a business plan (which includes project costs, the borrower’s contribution, use of loan funds, type and amount of security, and how the borrower expects to make repayments of the loan). The SBA relies on the private lender for analysis of the proposed loan. This analysis should evaluate whether the loan proposal meets the requirements of the SBA loan as well as the private lender’s own requirements. The 7(a) program is by far the most common of the SBA’s loan guaranty programs. For loans less than or equal to $150,000, the SBA will guarantee up to 85% of the loan and 75 percent on loans of more than $150,000. Loans can be made for higher amounts, however, the maximum 7(a) loan amount is $5 million and there is no minimum. SBA’s maximum exposure amount is $3,750,000. Thus, if a business receives an SBA-guaranteed loan for $5 million, the maximum guarantee to the lender will be $3,750,000 or 75%. SBA Express loans have a maximum guarantee set at 50 percent.

Text adapted from the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission Business Financing Guide, 2014

The purpose of the Impact Seven – Greater Wisconsin Fund Loan is to assist growing companies to start-up or expand in Wisconsin communities. These are  competitive, often below-market loans and the rate is determined on a case-by-case basis. Lower rates available for high impact projects. The loan term is typically the useful life of the asset being financed. The job creation requirement and loan ratio vary according to the amount in the pool of funds (general goal is $20,000 per job created) . The major criteria for this program are quality of business plan, financial history/economic viability of business, job creation, and collateral. Loans can range from micro-loans up to million-dollar projects.  In the current economic climate there is even need more due to large financing gaps and deals. . A prominent success story of the Fund is Century Foods International. This company started small in Sparta, WI, with Impact Seven’s assistance. Century Foods has grown in the last two decades into the largest employer in the city. Contact Information: Impact Seven, 147 Lake Almena Drive, Almena, WI, 54805; 715-357-3334; Web site:

Text adapted from the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission Business Financing Guide, 2014

The Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) Program is to incent expansions of manufacturing facilities in the state of Wisconsin. IRBs are tax-exempt bonds that can be used to stimulate capital investment and job creation by providing private borrowers with access to financing at interest rates that are lower than conventional bank loans. The IRB process involves five separate entities – the borrower, lender, bond attorney, issuer, and WEDC. WEDC allocates the bonding authority or the volume cap for the program under Wis. Stat. §238.10 and the Policy on the Allocation of Volume Cap. The municipalities and counties sell the IRBs and loan the proceeds to eligible businesses undertaking eligible projects. Visit the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for more information.

The Food Financing Institute works to make sophisticated financial technical assistance available for every growing food, beverage and value-added agriculture enterprise.
Food Finance Institute Client Successes.  Directed by Tera Johnson, the Food Finance Institute (FFI) leverages and supports a collaborative network of professionals focused on building and funding profitable businesses in the food, beverage and value-added agriculture sector. The FFI is a Business & Entrepreneurship program of the University of Wisconsin System Administration. By  supporting collaborative network and partners with training, resources, tools and mentorship, FFI fulfills its mission of making sophisticated financial technical assistance available to every growing food, beverage and value-added agriculture enterprise. Read more about resources through the Food Financing Institute.

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