Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch visited La Crosse this week to award more state money to the Couleecap organization.
The $62,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will help expand two Couleecap entrepreneurship programs in La Crosse and neighboring counties, including La Crosse and Viroqua Co-Starters programs.
Couleecap has now received the grants two consecutive years.
“Couleecap has taken the idea of entrepreneurship and seized it and spread it across,” Kleefisch said, “not only (its recipients) but also infused it in kind of the culture of the Coulee region.”
Kleefisch said in helping people start their own small businesses, Couleecap is trying to fight poverty in the region through economic development.
Kleefisch especially likes Couleecap’s support of Pop-Up Shop program in La Crosse, Viroqua, Bangor and Sparta that can occupy empty storefronts.
“I think this will benefit, not only downtown La Crosse, but the entire Coulee region,”Kleefisch said. “But, I also think it will serve as an example to the rest of the state to potential applicants for these grants next year.”
Kleefisch also noted the region has natural advantages, such as the Mississippi River, the college culture and a small-town atmosphere.