The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.2 million construction grant to the City of Janesville in 2012 to build the 22,000 square foot Janesville Innovation Center (JIC). The Center is structured to offer a combination of office and manufacturing tenant spaces for start-up and early-stage growth companies.
The City was a primary initiator and funding source for the construction and operation of the Janesville Innovation Center. Through Tax-Increment Financing (TIF), the City provided an $850,000 match to the EDA grant for the building that was constructed on City owned industrial land at the corner of Venture Drive and Beloit Avenue. The City Council also authorized funds to support management operations in the establishment of the Center and its business assistance and mentoring programs.
The Janesville Foundation awarded the Innovation Center capital improvement grants in 2013 and 2015 that allowed the Innovation Center to make purchases and common area improvements to better serve the JIC tenants and the Janesville area entrepreneurial community. As a result of the grants, the Innovation Center conference room has media equipment and facilities that allow for more productive meetings of tenants and community groups; the building has a common router and Wi-Fi service for tenants and visitors; the kitchen area is capable of supporting growing companies and community groups; and the building now offers a combination of offices and manufacturing suites so tenants can have access to different types of space for their business needs.
Alliant Energy awarded the Innovation Center grants in 2014 and 2016 that allowed the facility to develop marketing programs and materials to inform prospective individuals and companies throughout Southern Wisconsin about the Innovation Center facilities, amenities and business assistance programs.
The Janesville Art League has partnered with the JIC since 2014 to provide a venue for local artists works within the Innovation Center. A flexible art system and regular exhibits provide visual interest and inspiration for tenants and visibility for our local artists. The Art League also partnered with the JIC for an anniversary event that brought artists, entrepreneurs and the community together for a celebration of creativity and innovation.
The Parker Foundation awarded a grant to the Innovation Center in 2014 to establish a Janesville Innovation Center Tenant Loan Fund. The purpose of the JIC Tenant Loan Fund is to provide start-up and early-stage JIC tenant companies access to working capital for projects and investments that accelerate revenue growth, profitability and/or the ability to secure additional growth capital.