Wisconsin Logo Region: Midwest Region Capital City: Madison State Governor: Tony Evers Principal Cities: Milwaukee, Green Bay, Kenosha, Eau Claire, La Crosse +49 30 4036876-12

Starting a Business in Wisconsin

Francisco Carrillo, Global Trade and Investment Director:

“Thanks to our central North American location, stable climate and smart fiscal policies, Wisconsin offers investors from all over the globe a sound choice when looking to start up, relocate or grow a business. We’ve created robust ecosystems and infrastructure that supports industries like advanced manufacturing; biohealth; energy, power and controls; food and beverage; water technology; and forest products. WEDC is here to advance your foreign expansion strategies through industry guidance, help you navigate governmental processes, and connect you with the knowledge, tools and relationships you need to minimize risk and maximize return on your investment. Connect with us and we’ll connect you to your greatest potential.”

Why Invest in Wisconsin ?

Wisconsin is making a positive difference in the world through global business development. The state’s strategic location, deep support of industry, world-class workforce and investment in research and development have enabled local businesses to make a significant impact internationally.

Starting an LLC in Wisconsin

The state is also full of opportunities for global companies looking to expand their operations. While widely known as an agricultural pioneer and leading producer of dairy products, Wisconsin is succeeding in key industries like advanced manufacturing; water technology; biohealth; aerospace; food and beverage; and energy, power and control.

Starting a Business in Wisconsin: Leading the way to a better world

While Wisconsin’s proximity to fresh water and abundant natural resources fueled the state’s historic industry development, it’s our relentless hard work, passion and original thinking that helped launch globally recognized standards of excellence across a wide range of commercial endeavors. Business success has never been the destination—it’s simply the natural result of the optimism and industriousness of our people. With a business climate that encourages and rewards production and innovation and a skilled workforce that continues to meet and exceed industry demands, we’ve become leaders in key industries. Wisconsin’s strong agricultural tradition has evolved and expanded to produce unmatched capabilities across the food and beverage sector. We’re drawing attention for manufacturing strengths in growing markets such as advanced machinery and material sciences. Biohealth discoveries born in our state’s academic institutions including the University of Wisconsin-Madison continue to improve health and enhance quality of life throughout the world, and we’ve even invested in centers of excellence in water research and energy technology to answer the challenges of sustainable resource management across the globe. Whatever we do, we do with intent and resolve. That’s what it means to create In Wisconsin®.

State Demographics – Wisconsin’s Economy

5.9 % million
Population (2020)
1 % of 2
States with fully funded pension plans
92 % %
High School diploma
$ 294 billion
GSP (2020)
AA 1
Moody’s Rating
66 %
College and university campuses
$ 21 billion
Exports (2020)
13 %
Commercial Ports
510000 %
Post-secondary and adult learners
3 %
International airports
within easy driving distance 29 % %
Bachelor’s degree or higher
5000 %
Engineering degrees awarded each year
4 % %
Manufacturing and ag tax rate
2 % nd
highest Manufacturing
employment concentration in the U.S. 22 %
Minutes average travel time to work

Key Industries for starting an LLC in Wisconsin

Where Aerospace Manufacturing Takes Place Over 500,000 aviation enthusiasts from 60 countries join together every year for the EAA AirVenture event here in Wisconsin. It’s a location that makes sense—Wisconsin is a rapidly developing leader in the aviation and aerospace sector thanks to access to the infrastructure and talent necessary to reach the highest levels of production and operational excellence. Aerospace Manufacturing Wisconsin’s leading aerospace production capabilities rose from our foundation in manufacturing and industry research. The state’s focus on nanotechnology, engineering, power and control systems and composite materials has allowed us to become a place where new and growing companies can develop ideas and use our ready-made supply chain to bring them to the world. For companies tackling the challenges of aviation or for companies looking to access the research and development in our aerospace sector, Wisconsin has solutions. For those who want a career in changing the way the world takes off, Wisconsin has opportunities. More about Aerospace Manufacturing Breakthroughs in biohealth converge in Wisconsin Wisconsin is addressing global health and sustainability challenges and propelling the world toward better solutions through proven expertise across the full biohealth spectrum, including medical devices and diagnostics, biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals, digital health and health research. Biohealth In Wisconsin, biohealth researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs work side by side to address the world’s evolving health challenges. Wisconsin boasts some of the nation’s top research institutes, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison investing more than $1 billion annually in research and development. Wisconsin has a highly educated workforce and a low cost of living—the best of both worlds, as is evidenced by our high concentration of companies and employment in biohealth fields. Due to Wisconsin’s strength in multiple subsectors of biohealth, the state has become an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. Many biohealth startups in Wisconsin have grown into thriving companies whose technology draws international interest. Powering The World Wisconsin helps power the country and the world with our high concentration of energy, power and controls companies. With renewable energy on the rise, new opportunities to be involved in this field are rapidly emerging. Energy, Power & Control As a global center for energy, power and controls, we’re performing cutting-edge research and development through world-class academic institutions and companies that are committed to addressing the world’s energy challenges. Through the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Wisconsin Energy Institute, Mid-West Energy Research Consortium and more, Wisconsin is investing in research and creating a competitive advantage as a world leader in energy conservation to generation and transmission. And with our highly educated population—29% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and Wisconsin institutions award nearly 5,000 engineering degrees annually—we have the talent you need for your next energy, power and controls innovation. Feeding The Future The science and engineering behind Wisconsin’s food and beverage production—from farm to factory to fork—comes from the expertise developed over generations of agriculture and food science leadership. Food & Beverages Wisconsin has earned global recognition for technological advancements that have improved growing practices, increased distribution efficiency, and raised safety and nutritional standards worldwide—all of which is driven by the joy we associate with good, healthy food. Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, producing more than 3 billion pounds of cheese and 30 billion pounds of milk each year. But that’s not all we’re known for. Wisconsin is also the #1 U.S. producer of ginseng, mink pelts and cranberries, and is a leader in sustainable and organic practices. And with above-average specialization of people and companies in food and beverage processing, Wisconsin has the workforce to support your company’s growth. More about Food & Beverages Leading the way in water solutions As a state with over 15,000 freshwater lakes, we know water. Our access to ample fresh water has put us at the forefront of commercial activity in agriculture, power generation and more while sparking the innovation that improves lives across the globe. Water Technology Today we’re home to a broad range of water-focused academic programs, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, the nation’s only graduate-level institution dedicated solely to freshwater. Milwaukee is also home to the Global Water Center and designated as one of two United Nations Global Compact Innovating Cities in the nation, making it “The Capital of Water” according to Forbes. Thirty major public and private educational institutions throughout Wisconsin offer more than 50 different water-focused degree programs. Where better to launch or advance a career aimed at addressing the world’s water challenges? More about Food & Beverages Smart Paper Solutions Developing in parallel with our agriculture industry, Wisconsin’s lumber and paper industry has shifted its focus from logging and railroads to conservation and sustainable practices. Forest Products Today, Wisconsin forest products companies are leading the way in environmental stewardship through reforestation, research and other practices to protect and maintain the health of the state’s 17.1 million acres of forest—for the sake of both the economy and the environment. Greatness Is Made In Wisconsin Wisconsin’s leadership in manufacturing, from the industrial age to now, stems from our drive to craft products that make life better and the feeling of accomplishment it brings when we succeed. Manufacturing Technological advancements made by Wisconsin manufacturers in electrical equipment, metal and more have continued to lead industry trends in both productivity and sustainability while improving global and national economies. In fact, 86% of the state’s exports are manufactured goods, and these exports support 95,000 jobs—demonstrating a healthy worldwide demand for the products we’re making right in our backyard.

What we can do to help you start a Business in Wisconsin

Invest in Wisconsin – About Our Services

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s European office, located in Berlin, is the prime contact for European companies seeking advice and information in every stage of the expansion process. WEDC’s European office offers free services including:

Helpful Links for starting an LLC in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation: Regional economic development organizations: Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: The Water Council: Food and Beverage Wisconsin: BioForward:

Tax Information

Wisconsin Department of Revenue:

Visa and Immigration Information

U.S. State Department:

Success Stories of companies which started a Business in Wisconsin

COMPANY BACKGROUND Headquartered in Verl, Germany, Beckhoff Automation specializes in industrial automation implementation, and generated global sales of 903 million euros in 2019. According to the company’s website, its “New Automation Technology” philosophy represents universal and open control and automation solutions that are used worldwide in a wide variety of different applications, ranging from CNC-controlled machine tools to intelligent building automation. With PC-based control technology, Beckhoff Automation offers an open and universal automation solution for almost all industries. The company has 4,350 employees worldwide. It has subsidiaries and representative offices in 39 countries, and counting sales companies and distributors, is represented in 75 countries around the globe. INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES The company had a division in the U.S. based in Savage, Minnesota, as well as a small office in Fond du Lac and a Chicago-area location in Woodridge, Illinois. When the company began looking to seek out space for staff offices and a training facility for its customers, Milwaukee’s Global Water Center rose to the top of the list of possible locations. The company is planning to open a 3,600-square-foot office in the Global Water Center in the summer of 2020. While the company will work with recommendations to keep employees and customers safe and healthy through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are moving ahead, and the office is expected to be the base for eight employees working in sales, technical support and engineering services. The office will host PC-based industrial control seminars and training events for up to 15 guests, with the capability to increase that over time. In addition to the training center, the space will include product displays and conference/teleconference space for staff. According to a statement from the company as reported by the BizTimes, the new office is part of Beckhoff Automation’s plans to grow its market share across the state. Existing clients include the North Shore Water Commission, which operates the water filtration plant in Glendale; Saukville-based vertical form fill seal baggers and packaging equipment manufacturer Matrix Packaging Machinery; and Menomonee Falls-based Messer Cutting Systems, a manufacturer of cutting systems for the metal-working industry.
COMPANY BACKGROUND Founded in 1920 and based in Bonn, Germany, HARIBO is the world market leader in the fruit gum and licorice segment, with 100 million Gold-Bear gummy candies—to take just one HARIBO product—produced daily worldwide. The company’s continuous brand management, with the highest quality control and consumer confidence, is largely responsible for its success story at 16 production sites throughout Europe. HARIBO, a family-owned company now operated by the third generation, employs nearly 7,000 people worldwide. WISCONSIN HISTORY HARIBO spent several years considering potential locations for its first manufacturing facility in North America. The company ultimately chose Kenosha County. In addition to Southeastern Wisconsin’s proximity to Chicago, HARIBO was drawn to Wisconsin’s friendly business climate, strong fiscal management, well-maintained infrastructure and skilled workforce. IDEAL LOCATION “As we are embarking on building one of the largest facilities in the confectionery industry, this location provides ideal conditions to further grow HARIBO’s successful business in the USA,” says Wes Saber, executive vice president and chief financial officer of HARIBO of America Inc. A FRIENDLY WELCOME The HARIBO project, which is expected to be completed in 2020, is one of the largest investments of new operations by an overseas company in Wisconsin history. As part of the state’s foreign direct investment efforts, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and other state government leaders have proactively been meeting with business executives around the world to promote the state’s assets and make a strong case about why those companies should establish new operations in Wisconsin. WEDC worked closely with local, county and regional officials to ensure that the state could meet HARIBO’s needs for what will be one of the largest U.S. manufacturing sites in the confectionery industry. In return for the jobs it is creating and capital investment it is making, HARIBO will receive up to $21 million in performance-based tax credits. “As we are embarking on building one of the largest facilities in the confectionary industry, this location provides ideal conditions to further grow HARIBO’s successful business in the USA.” -Wes Saber, executive vice president and chief financial officer of HARIBO of America
The Water Council
WHY WISCONSIN The Global Water Center serves as the world headquarters of The Water Council and is home to more than 40 water-centric businesses, startups and academic and research organizations. An office in the Water Technology District in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood will locate Beckhoff Automation in close proximity to customers and collaborators, as well as potential new customers, regional manager Jacob Schieffer told the BizTimes. “The Milwaukee metropolitan area is home to numerous high-profile manufacturers, machine builders and other high-tech companies that need high-performance automation solutions,” he said. “We have experienced especially strong growth with customers based here.” The right decision: “As water resource management becomes even more critical to U.S. infrastructure as well as the rest of the world, our upcoming office opening at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee will help support our initiatives to work in more new water and wastewater treatment applications. Opening an office at the Global Water Center furthers our commitment to delivering leading-edge automation and controls technologies both for machine builders and manufacturers, as well as process industry customers in water and wastewater treatment.” – Jacob Schieffer, Regional Manager, Beckhoff Automation

Contact Information for starting a Business in Wisconsin

Francisco Carrillo Director Global Trade & Investment Division State of  Wisconsin
Contact Wisconsin +49 (0)30 4036876-15
Stefan Peikert Consultant European Office Berlin
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation 201 W. Washington Avenue – 6th Floor Madison, WI 53703 – USA AHP International Group Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Strasse 11 10787 Berlin – Germany +49 30 4036876-12 stefan.peikert@

News about Wisconsin