Milwaukee Program to Provide Much-Need Boost to 100 Black-Owned Businesses

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One hundred Black businesses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are about to receive a significant boost courtesy of the PNC Foundation’s $600,000 grant for the Black Business Boost program.

The PNC grant will be furnished into the Black Business Boost fund via the Milwaukee-based CDFI Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) over three years.

Any profits will be reinvested into following program cohorts and other philanthropic and institutional support to expand the program’s reach. According to NextCity.Org, the program was launched in collaboration with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.

The program will provide “friends- and family-type capital” to individuals and businesses with a “concept to launch” approach to assistance no matter where they are in their business life cycle—from startup to scaling and long-term sustainability.

According to its website, the WWBIC has lent over $85 million in micro and small loans since 1987, primarily to women, people of color, lower-income individuals, veterans, and military-connected families.

“We hope to fully serve 100 Black entrepreneurs and business owners over this period of time—most likely far more too,” says Wendy Baumann, WWBIC president and chief visionary officer. “We hope and believe the Black Business Boost at WWBIC will add additional pillars of strength for a Black entrepreneur as they start or expand their businesses,” she says.

The pilot program looks to fund access to supportive services such as co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators, credit recovery and support. The fund will also go towards funding technical assistance, business training and direct micro-equity investments and loan support.

The Black Business Boost Fund is part of a wider pledge by PNC to provide support in underserved communities in Wisconsin. It invested $27 million in 2021 for economic empowerment, community development and early education.

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