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WEDC to award $585K in grants for minority business development

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) awarded $585,000 in grants to five Milwaukee-based organizations.

The grants will help provide assistance to minority-owned businesses throughout the state. Governor Walker announced the grants on December 14 at MARKETPLACE 2016, the 35th annual statewide conference for minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses, held at the Potawatomi Hotel and Conference Center in Milwaukee.

“These grants to the minority chambers of commerce across Wisconsin will enable them to provide a wide variety of much-needed services to businesses in the communities they serve,” Governor Walker said. “Whether it’s helping secure funding or providing mentorship or training, these efforts will lead to more successful companies and more jobs at a local level.”

The grants from WEDC’s Minority Business Development Program are being awarded to the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, and The Business Council.

Other organizations that will benefit from the funding to those organizations include the Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance, the Hmong-Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, the Latino Entrepreneurial Network, the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, and the Ethically Diverse Business Coalition.

The grants will support initiatives such as business training workshops, financial awareness programs, assistance with securing financing, networking opportunities, and one-on-one mentoring. Each of the minority chambers also administers a revolving loan fund supported by WEDC, and a portion of the grant funding will be used to administer that program and assist businesses in applying for loans.

Since 2011, WEDC has awarded grants to the nonprofit minority business associations across Wisconsin because they are well connected in their respective communities and best positioned to award the loans for maximum impact.

Last year, the minority chambers provided services to more than 300 businesses and hosted 48 workshops statewide. In addition, WEDC’s investments contributed to $5.9 million in private loans for projects expected to create or retain nearly 200 jobs.

More than 600 people attended the two-day conference, which provides opportunities for businesses to meet with dozens of potential buyers, identify funding sources, connect with business assistance resources and network with other businesses.

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Lee Matz

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