Starting a Business in the City of Beloit, Wisconsin

Entrepreneurial endeavors are possible in Beloit with GBEDC’s gateway of information. Our platform is your definitive guide to initiating a successful business venture in Beloit. If you need assistance forming a business plan, securing necessary licensing and permitting, or other critical steps, we are here to equip you with the insights, tools, and connections to turn your business dreams into reality.

Please review the information below or contact us for further assistance today!

Starting a Business

Providing Parking for Customers

Outside of the downtown area, off-street parking and loading spaces are usually required for each business. Off-street parking and loading spaces are not required in the Central Business District. There are several City-owned and maintained lots to support businesses in the downtown area. When a building is constructed, expanded, or the use changes, the off-street parking standards must be met. Parking requirements vary by land use, but the number of spaces required is typically based on the size of the building (in square feet or seating capacity).

Resources & Links

City of Beloit Economic Development Department (

  • Site search, incentives, referrals, development agreements, etc.

Downtown Beloit Association (

  • Marketing, site search, façade grants, special events, etc.

gener8tor (

  • Startup accelerator, venture creation, investor network, 1:1 coaching, technical expertise

Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce (

  • Ambassadors, marketing, special events, networking, directory

Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation (

  • Site selection, banks, demographic data, advocacy, workforce development, networking

Irontek (

  • Downtown coworking and shared office space, startup community, business resources, conference space

Rock County Development Alliance (

  • Site selection, demographic data, workforce development, technical assistance

Rock County Jumpstart (

  • Business plans, marketing, incubator, accelerator


  • Mentoring, workshops, business plans, growth management

Visit Beloit (

  • Calendar of events, tourism, marketing, directory, networking

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (

  • Tax credits, grants, loans, entrepreneurship, training, certified sites, main streets

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (

  • Consulting, marketing, financing,

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (

  • Entrepreneurship & financial wellness training, lending, coaching

Installing Exterior Signs

The City’s Outdoor Sign Regulations outline different number, size, and height standards in each zoning district. If you are planning to erect a new sign or you plan to change, move, or expand an existing sign, you will need a Sign Permit and an Architectural Review Certificate.

Building New, Expanding, and Renovating

A Building Permit is required for all new structures, additions, renovations, structural repair, and mechanical system replacement. Once the work is completed and inspected, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. Site Plan Review is required before you may build a new structure, add to an existing structure, construct a new parking lot, or expand an existing parking lot by 25% or more. The Planning Division reviews site plans to ensure that the proposed project meets the standards of the City’s Zoning Ordinance. An approved site plan will result in the issuance of a Certificate of Zoning Compliance, which will allow you to seek a Building Permit. Architectural Review is required for every new structure, addition, exterior renovation, and sign (excluding residential buildings containing one or two units).

Selling Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol sales and/or consumption is only allowed in certain zoning districts. A conditional use permit is required before a business may serve alcohol outdoors. Please contact the Planning Division at 608-364-6700 to inquire about where alcohol sales and/or consumption may occur. An alcohol license, available through the City Clerk’s Office (608-364-6680), is also required before a business may sell alcohol for on- and off-premise consumption.

Securing City of Beloit and Rock County Permits to Operate

All businesses within the City of Beloit need a Business Permit. A Business Permit is $100-$200 and applications may be obtained from the Water Resources Division (364-2888). Permit applications can also be found at under “How do I…Apply for a Permit.” The following licenses and permits may also be required, depending upon the nature of the business:

  • Alcoholic Beverage Sales
  • Operator/Bartender
  • Outdoor Vending including food trucks
  • Secondhand Article/Pawn Shop
  • Sidewalk Café License

Please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 608-364-6680 with questions about the above licenses and permits. Note: This list excludes other permits that may be required by Rock County and/or the State of Wisconsin. For example, the Rock Co. Public Health Department ( issues licenses for restaurants, hotels, motels, and other service establishments.

Securing State Licenses and Permits to Operate

Corporate entity registration in Wisconsin is handled through the Department of Financial Institutions ( Employers required to carry worker’s compensation insurance can register with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development at Be sure to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at to receive a tax identification number and sales tax number.

Helpful tip: The State of Wisconsin offers a Wisconsin One Stop Business Portal to register with all three of the above-referenced departments (DFI, DWD, and DOR). Professional licensing for certain professions is handled by the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services at

Creating a Business Plan

Before buying or leasing property, be sure to finalize your business plan, budget, and financial projections. Creation of a marketing strategy and identifying insurance needs is also recommended at this stage. For assistance in preparing a business plan, see the organizations listed in the Resources section of this document. If you are looking for professional assistance with accounting, legal, insurance, real estate, or marketing issues, review the directory of existing businesses in Beloit at or

Finding a Location

There are numerous websites available to assist in your search for a building or site. Start with the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation’s website at and click on the “Site Selection” tab. Click on “Available Properties” to see properties listed for sale or lease, or “Gateway Business Park” to see vacant land owned by the City and/or GBEDC. If you are interested in downtown properties, try the Downtown Beloit Association’s website at under the “Resources” tab. Contact the GBEDC Office for assistance at 608-364-6610.

Before you buy or lease property, inquire about the property’s zoning classification. The City has several zoning districts, and each district has a unique combination of permitted uses, conditional uses, and prohibited uses. Ideally, businesses will be able to find available space in a zoning district that lists the proposed business as a permitted (by-right) use. If the proposed business is a conditional use, a conditional use permit is necessary before the business may operate. Conditional use permit applications are considered by the Plan Commission. Contact the Planning Division at 608-364-6700 with questions about zoning issues.