Kenosha County is a great place to do business. Along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, it is strategically positioned between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. If you are interested in starting a business and need more information please see below.

If you have never owned a business before or would like a solid understanding of what owning and running a business entails, you should consider taking a class presented by Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative (WWBIC) like Will My Business Idea Work, Are You An Entrepreneur,  and Researching Your Business Idea. In addition to those classes and many others is the popular and important $mall Biz: Business Planning Series. The $mall Biz: Business Planning Series provides in-depth learning for starting a business. Participants complete a draft of their business plans through weekly worksheets and exercises. Extensive information is provided on business financing and ownership, market research, marketing strategies, record keeping, cash flow, business operations, and management. Weekly guest speakers will include business professionals and successful entrepreneurs. All of WWBIC’s classes can be found on their website.

To obtain financial assistance including loans or investors, you will need a comprehensive Business Plan. If your schedule does not allow time for the classes there are helpful resources online. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has helpful online classes and links to detailed instructions to write a Business Plan or establish a business can be found below.

Writing a Business Plan   Establishing A Business


Registering Your Business

If you have any type of partnership structure to your business you should file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Instructions and templates of Articles of Organization forms for the different types of organizational structures can be found on their website. As with any legal document, please have a trusted attorney or legal advisor review your paperwork before you file. For a list of attorneys see the ‘Attorneys’ category in our online Business Directory.

If you determine your business is a Sole Proprietorship and would like an official registration of your business, also required by some financial institutions for loans, you can register with Kenosha County. Access the online Registration of Firm Names here.


Employer Identification Number & Tax Forms

All businesses need a Tax Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. Click here to apply for your EIN.  The IRS.gov Small Business Center has a lot of helpful information for small business owners and business managers about what and when to file.


License and Permits

Each municipality in Kenosha County has different forms, licenses, and permit requirements for businesses, whether they are home-based businesses, own vast commercial property, building new offices, or are leasing their space. See below for the most popular forms online and directly contact the municipality your business will physically be located in for further requirements.

City of Kenosha

Community Development and Inspections
(262) 653-4263
 kenosha.org/departments/development

A City of Kenosha Business Occupancy Permit is required for all businesses within the City and must be applied for and granted prior to the occupancy of a new building, upon the change of tenancy in an existing commercial space, or when a building is subject to a business license. Home-based businesses are required to have a Home Occupancy Permit. You can access the forms you need on the City’s website.

Town of Brighton

 (262) 878-2218
 brightonwi.org

Town of Paris

 (262) 859-3006
 town-of-paris.org

Town of Randall

 (262) 877-2165
 townofrandall.com

Town & Village of Salem Lakes

 (262) 843-2313
 villageofsalemlakes.org

Village of Somers

 (262) 859-2819
 somers.org | forms and licenses

Town of Wheatland

 (262) 537-4340
 townwheatland.com

Village of Bristol

 (262) 857-2368
 villageofbristol.org

Village of Genoa City

 (262) 279-6472
 genoacity.info

Village of Paddock Lake

 (262) 843-2713
 paddocklake.net

Village of Pleasant Prairie

 (262) 694-1400
 pleasantprairieonline.com

Licenses are required for all business enterprises and links to the most common forms are below:

Village of Twin Lakes

 (262) 877-3700
 villageoftwinlakes.net