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Business Research

Let us help guide you to the best business information available.

Reliable and relevant business information can be tricky to find. Milwaukee Public Library’s Business & Technology department has identified valuable resources that will help with your business planning and research.

Are you a business owner interested in getting access to the library’s databases and materials? Learn how to register for a Business Library Card to enable your business to have access to these unique resources.                


Business Resources by Category




American FactFinder: American FactFinder provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys.  Free website.

Census Business Builder: Census Business Builder offers small business owners selected Census Bureau & other statistics to guide their research for opening or expanding their business. Free website.

DemographicsNOW: From Gale, this customizable blend of census, statistics, marketing insights and people/business directories is perfect for creating visual analyses for business plans, entrepreneurial activities and quick demographic reports. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

Milwaukee Neighborhood Strategic Planning Statistics: View detailed information for each of the 18 Neighborhood Strategic Planning (NSP) in the city. See neighborhood statistics related to current property demographics, housing and community development, neighborhood quality of life, environment, education, neighborhood vitality, and public safety information. Compare your neighborhood's profile to other strategic planning areas and to the city as a whole. Free website.

State of Wisconsin Demographic Services Center:  Demographic Services Center (DSC) develops annual estimates and future projections of the population for all Wisconsin towns, villages, and cities.  Free Website.


Chambers of Commerce

African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin: 633 W. Wisconsin Ave, Suite 603, Milwaukee, WI, 53203, 414-462-9450

  • Access to capital
  • Advocacy
  • Business Development
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Promotes economic and educational vibrancy in communities of color
  • RISE 14-week Entrepreneurial Training Program

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin: 1021 W. National Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53204, 414-643-6963

  • Assistance with licensing and permitting process
  • Business Plan Assistance
  • Access to Capital
  • Accounting Services
  • Marketing Services
  • Seminars and Workshops
  • Bilingual English/español
  • Open to ALL

Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce: 6815 W. Capitol Dr, Suite 204, Milwaukee, WI, 53216, 414-645-8828

  • Counselling
  • Workshops
  • Access to capital
  • Bilingual English/Hmoob
  • Open to ALL

Wisconsin L.G.B.T. Chamber of Commerce: 5027 W. North Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53208, 414-678-9275

  • Promotes economic growth and opportunities among LGBT owned and allied business

  • Business advocate and link between business and government

  • LGBT Business Enterprise Certification Program

  • Emerging Leaders Program

  • LGBT Workplace Alliance Program

  • Welcoming & Inclusive Campaign


Industry, Company, and Product Research

Business Source Premier: From EBSCO, this package for business research includes articles, company and industry profiles, and country and market research. Provided as part of Wisconsin's BadgerLink program.

Reference Solutions: Reference Solutions is a tremendous collection of data records that can be used as a people or business address/telephone directory, job hunting tool, company or industry analysis source, mailing list creator, or to custom design marketing datasets within the Consumer/Lifestyle module. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

ThomasNet: Directory of manufacturers and distributors. Includes links to product catalogs and CAD drawings. Free Website.

Wisconsin Corporation Search: search for businesses in Wisconsin and find registered agent information, current business status, filing history and more. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions also provides annual reports and charter documents for a fee. Free website.

Wisconsin Business Annual Reports: An index to MPL's collection of historic annual reports, which focused on Wisconsin-based companies.


International Resources

Doing Business: The Doing Business Project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 189 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level. The website offers detailed subnational reports, which exhaustively cover business regulation and reform in different cities and regions within a nation. These reports provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas. Free Website.



Value Line: For complete stock and investment research, turn to Value Line. Online access to the Investment Survey is available. The Investment Survey, Small & Midcap Survey, and Special Situations Service, are all available in print at the Business & Technology Room at the Central Library. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

See the library’s Personal Finance: Get Smart About Money page for additional Investment related resources.


Small Business

BizStarts Milwaukee: Connects resources, content and contacts that will assist entrepreneurs to launch new enterprises. Bizstarts Milwaukee was formed by a group of forward-looking business leaders in the Milwaukee region who saw a need to accelerate early stage business and ideas. Free Website. Hundreds of free sample business plans from the Small Business Administration and Palo Alto software. Business plans contain realistic sample content for various business types. Free Website.

Census Business Builder: Census Business Builder offers small business owners selected Census Bureau & other statistics to guide their research for opening or expanding their business. Free website.

DemographicsNOW: Perfect for creating visual analyses for business plans. DemographicsNOW has easy to use Report Wizards that can create custom reports on comparing local markets, identifying market demand and analyzing potential business sites, in minutes. It is also able to run quick demographic reports and includes a people/business directory. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

Forward Wisconsin's Wisconsin Business Toolkit: Toolkit listing government agencies, financial resources, and general start-up information. Forward Wisconsin provides resources for businesses looking to either open a new location, to expand an existing business in Wisconsin or to start a new business. Free Website.

Gale Courses: Take a 6 week class on a wide variety of topics ranging from starting a small business to improving homeschooling skills to assisting aging parents. Every course is offered each month. Register, learn, participate in class interaction, complete assignments and tests - all online. Choose from the more than 370 classes listed in the Gale course catalog and get started learning something new. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

Gale Legal Forms: Turn to Gale Legal Forms when performing do-it-yourself Wisconsin legal work.  Types of forms included are those used for divorce, wills & estates, real estate, bankruptcy, power of attorney, name changes, landlord & tenant, paternity and small business.  Sample letters are also available to use as models.  The forms in this database are integrated with the Gale Small Business Builder product to help small business owners meet legal requirements of starting a business. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

Gale Small Business Builder: This interactive product helps you know if you have what it takes to start a small business or nonprofit organization. Enter information about your business idea and Gale returns customized information to help entrepreneurs take the next step to success. From ideation to financing to marketing – everything is designed to work together to produce your perfect individualized plan. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

Kiva Zip: Kiva Zip is an online platform that enables financially excluded and socially impactful entrepreneurs to access 0% interest small business loans up to $5,000. Evaluation is based on entrepreneurs' character and their credit worthiness established through their network. These loans are crowdfunded by hundreds of lenders from around the world who read your story, lend you as little as $5 each, and rally around your business as potential customers, business advisers, and brand ambassadors. Free Website.

Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE): Nationally, SCORE is America’s largest volunteer business counseling service.  Founded in 1964, it is a nonprofit association dedicated to help those in small business, about to start one, or just thinking about it. SCORE also provides free mentoring opportunities. Free Website.

Small Business Development Center at UWM: A network providing business owners and entrepreneurs a statewide support network that offers no-cost, confidential consulting and targeted educational plans. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-sized companies and help launch successful new enterprises.

Small Business Resource Center: Plan. Fund. Start. Manage. Small Business Resource Center (from Gale) covers all major areas of starting and operating a business: financing, management, marketing, human resources, franchising, accounting, taxes and more. Startups, established businesses, and business students alike can find answers to all kinds of questions. Works on mobile devices, too. Not sure what kind of business you want to start?  Click on the list of business types to get not only good ideas, but also great business plans. Library subscription. Available to City of Milwaukee library card holders.

StartSmart Online Tool: Get your new business off on the right foot! StartSmart can help guide you to the city and state permits you need. Free Website.

Veteran's Guide to Starting a Small BusinessVeteran's Guide to Starting a Small Business: An in-depth resource guide for veterans who are interested in starting, running, and financing a veteran-owned business. 

Wisconsin One Stop Business Portal: One Stop Business Portal will walk you through the steps necessary to register your small business with multiple state agencies in Wisconsin. Free Website.

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC): The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center helps entrepreneurs start and grow businesses through high quality educational services. Services include references and referrals, training and professional development, and business development. Free Website.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative (WWBIC): WWBIC’s regional office in Milwaukee serves emerging and existing small business owners (men and women) by providing quality business education, one-on-one business assistance, direct loans and access to other capital, financial awareness and asset-building programming. Free Website. Some classes may have fees.

Research Business at MPL

April 29, 2021
4:00 PM
Small Business Resources 101 at Virtual

Click here to register:  View Full Calendar

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