An entrepreneur finds the perfect site for her new business but wonders how to find out if there is any contamination on the property. A printer wants to expand his shop and is concerned about triggering new environmental requirements. An auto body shop owner grapples with the legal language in an environmental regulation.

They don't have to struggle to find answers. The team of dedicated business owners and public representatives that make up the Wisconsin Small Business Environmental Council (Council) can get them the help they need.

Council members advise the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about how existing rules affect small businesses, provide their perspective on proposed regulations, and help make DNR documents easier to understand. The governor and the legislature appoint seven members of the council and the eighth is from the DNR. Together, they serve as the voice of Wisconsin's small business community at the DNR.

"The Council advocates for the small business perspective, making sure it is taken into account when DNR creates new rules or resource materials," says Jody Jansen, vice president, business banking for Bank First in Waupaca and a member of the council since 2016. "Small businesses are best served when state agencies listen to their concerns; allowing them to grow their business while protecting the environment."

The council wants to hear your questions and ideas. If you are opening or expanding a small business; struggling to find answers about DNR permits, rules, and regulations; or if you are seeking to reduce your environmental footprint, the council wants to hear from you.

The council welcomes members of the public to all its meetings and encourages small business owners to suggest discussion topics. Periodically, the council takes their meetings on the road, holding open forums for small businesses. Businesses can also host meetings, offering the council a first-hand experience of business operations and the challenges that arise when working with environmental rules.

If you are interested in hosting a meeting, partnering with the council on a forum, or offering your time and talents to serve on the council, call 855-889-3021 or email DNRSmallBusiness@wisconsin.gov. The council is supported by DNR's Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, a free service that provides confidential assistance with any regulatory questions.