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News & Press: WEDC Corner

March 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017   (0 Comments)
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HARIBO to build first North American plant in Wisconsin 

The German-based confectionary company and maker of the popular “GoldBear” gummi candies, has selected Kenosha County as the site of its first manufacturing facility in North America.

“On behalf of the state, I want to thank HARIBO for its decision to establish its North American manufacturing operations in Kenosha County and I applaud the company for its commitment to Wisconsin,” Governor Scott Walker said in making the announcement. “As a global company with products that are loved by millions and a legacy that dates back nearly a century, HARIBO is a great fit with the many other iconic companies that already call Wisconsin home. The state’s business-friendly climate and strong fiscal management, along with our dedicated workforce and reliable infrastructure, are among the many reasons HARIBO decided Wisconsin was the right choice for this facility.” 

“HARIBO has already been in the process of selecting a location for a first manufacturing facility in the USA for several years. In an elaborate process, we have examined many different sites. We are very excited to announce this important decision today,” said Rick LaBerge, chief operating officer of HARIBO of America Inc.

The $242 million HARIBO facility in Pleasant Prairie, 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, Governor Walker and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation 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.


Wisconsin companies invited to join trade mission to Mexico

Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch invites Wisconsin companies new to exporting or looking to expand their efforts to join her and WEDC on a trade mission to Mexico, June 11-16.

The trade mission will travel to Mexico City, the nation’s largest city, and Monterrey, which is Mexico’s third-largest city and has a high concentration of manufacturing facilities aligned with Wisconsin’s key industry sectors, including food and food production equipment.

Since Mexico is one of the top export markets for U.S. companies across all sectors, Wisconsin companies from a broad range of sectors are encouraged to join this trade mission. Leading export categories from Wisconsin to Mexico include industrial machinery; electrical machinery; vehicles and parts; plastics; and medical and scientific instruments.

The trade mission comes as the number of goods and services exported from Wisconsin to Mexico continues to grow. In 2016, Wisconsin exports to Mexico increased by nearly 3 percent from 2015; by comparison, total U.S. exports to Mexico fell by 2 percent.

In each city, participants will be scheduled for one-on-one meetings with potential partners who are hand-picked for each company. Each participant will also receive a custom Mexico market assessment detailing considerations to keep in mind when introducing a product or service into the market. WEDC will arrange appointments for participants, which will allow them to focus on business rather than logistics and scheduling.

The fee for this program is $1,650, which covers market research and one-on-one appointments, transportation to business meetings, hotel accommodations for the duration of the program and some group meals.

The registration deadline is May 12. For more information, visit


Pratt Industries opens new facility in Beloit

Governor Scott Walker joined leaders and employees of Pratt Industries as well as members of the community in Beloit on March 20 to celebrate the grand opening of the company’s new factory in the Beloit Gateway Business Park.

Pratt Industries, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the nation’s fifth largest corrugated packaging company and the world’s largest, privately held 100% recycled paper and packaging company. Founded more than 20 years ago, the company has grown and expanded manufacturing facilities in over 25 states, employing more than 7,000 people. The company strives to be the best vertically integrated paper, packaging and resource-recovery company in the western hemisphere.

Pratt Industries acquired a 56-acre site in Beloit for their new $52 million corrugated box factory. The 350,000 square-foot facility is the company’s 13th U.S.-based corrugating facility and will produce around 600 tons of recycled boxes every day. The location for the facility provides excellent access to major hubs like Chicago and Milwaukee and additionally benefits local and regional customers, such as the new 500,000 square-foot Amazon distribution center near Kenosha.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) viewed this project as highly valuable and competitive. In order to encourage Pratt Industries’ $52.5 million investment to establish operations in Beloit, WEDC’s Awards Administration Committee approved a $1.75 million Business Opportunity Loan Award as well as a $2.4 million Jobs Tax Credit Award in May 2015.

Pratt Industries has committed to providing 140 full-time jobs at the facility when it reaches full capacity, as well as 200 jobs during the construction phase.


5 Wisconsin communities selected for downtown revitalization program

WEDC has accepted five new municipalities into its Connect Communities Program, an initiative that works with communities to advance downtown and urban corridor revitalization efforts.

With the latest additions, there are now 66 participants in the Connect Communities Program, which provides access to resources and training to help downtown organizations pursue revitalization and redevelopment efforts. Since the program was launched in January 2013, participating communities have reported adding 223 net new businesses and more than 1,151 net new jobs, as well as $60.6 million in private investment.

The new Connect Communities participants are: City of Burlington, City of Manawa, Milwaukee Marketplace BID #32, City of New Richmond and City of Stevens Point-Northside Business District.

The program is designed to support and complement the Wisconsin Main Street Program, which has supported projects statewide resulting in the creation of more than 2,559 net new businesses and 13,498 net new jobs since its inception in 1987.

Connect Communities participants benefit from a variety of assistance and resources simply by being part of a broad-based network of communities with similar objectives, including access to an online discussion group to share challenges and successful strategies, participation in Main Street workshops focused on a downtown revitalization topic, training and more.


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