New WWBIC Impact Report

New WWBIC Impact Report

New WWBIC Impact Report

WWBIC: Making a difference. Results that matter.

Making a Difference Is What We Do

Every day at WWBIC, our social mission is to assist clients in improving their financial wellbeing.

Since 1987, WWBIC has advanced inclusive entrepreneurship by providing business lending and training support to underserved individuals – those “pre-rich” entrepreneurs who have great potential yet often struggle to access the capital and resources to make their business ownership dreams a reality.

Beginning in 2019, WWBIC undertook a third-party study to better understand the financial footprint of our business borrowers. This research analyzed data over a decade to better understand the long-term impact of our work in the aggregate: How WWBIC is making a difference in the lives and communities of the people we serve.


Every dollar that WWBIC invests in a small business results in nearly $22 in economic activity.

Whether borrowers are startups looking for a Kiva crowdfunding loan of a few thousand dollars, or an established business looking to purchase new equipment to expand their business with capital up to $250,000, WWBIC is here to help. We break down the barriers to lending for entrepreneurs from underserved populations who may have been turned down for financing from banks. In short, we are “putting dreams to work!” WWBIC loans create impact beyond the individual borrower as businesses purchase supplies, hire workers, ship inventory, pay taxes and generate other business activity. Research shows that every dollar WWBIC invests in a small business generates nearly $22 in annual economic activity! In addition:
  • 2,593 direct jobs have been created and retained by WWBIC borrowers
  • WWBIC’s current loan portfolio is roughly $23.5 million with 592 active borrowers
  • WWBIC loans are directly and indirectly generating more than $174 million in annual economic activity
“The pandemic has [brought an] unfriendly future for small business, especially start-ups,” says WWBIC client Fanni Xie, owner of Uni Uni Tea Shop. “When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade – eat the lemon and take the seeds and plant them. WWBIC is the water and the sun I needed to plant my tree. I was able to get a $200,000 SBA start up loan and break down the barriers for me to become a business owner.”
Click here for more details on WWBIC loans.


70% of borrowers who came to WWBIC with a subprime credit score witnessed an improvement in their credit score.

WWBIC doesn’t just provide lending capital to our small business clients, we also offer a variety of training sessions specifically designed to meet the needs of aspiring, new or growing entrepreneurs on topics ranging from business planning, cashflow, QuickBooks, and business certification to marketing, human resources and industry-specific training.

This training is offered at varying times during the week and on the weekend, in person or online, and most of it is provided for free to meet the needs of entrepreneurs. In addition, WWBIC provides specific services to military veteran business owners through our Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) programming and training specific to Spanish-speaking clients.

As a result, third party research shows that 70% of the borrowers who came to WWBIC with “subprime” credit scores of less than 650 witnessed an improvement in their credit score after receiving a WWBIC loan. More than half of borrowers in the study had subprime credit.

“WWBIC provides relatable financial classes and seminars. They helped increase our brand’s value, also making us more bankable.” says Angela Smith, WWBIC client and owner of Daddy’s Soul Food & Grille.

Click here for more details on WWBIC entrepreneurship training


69% of WWBIC-supported borrowers remain in business after 5 years, compared to a 50% rate nationally.


We are proud of the way we sustain relationships with our clients. Our Small Business Consultants and professional volunteers provide ongoing support to WWBIC loan clients. In-depth business assistance for WWBIC borrowers ensures that business owners have access to the tools and skills they need to grow profitable and sustainable businesses.

Throughout the term of a loan we provide:

  • Annual site visits & one-on-one coaching
  • Promotional & networking opportunities
  • Resource referral network
  • 24/7 access to WWBIC’s Initiate Portal, an online business resource with over 100 tools, videos and guides

Our clients’ success is important to us and our Small Business Consultants are here to assist and build a relationship that truly benefits your business. As a result of this technical assistance built into all WWBIC loans, it’s not surprising that research shows that 69% of WWBIC-supported borrowers remain in business after 5 years, compared to only 50% nationally.

“WWBIC provides a multitude of resources to navigate through different crises,” says Brandon & Arielle Hawthorne, owners of Twisted Plants. “Whether it be the pandemic or insights on making sure our business succeeds, WWBIC has specialists and virtual assistance readily available.”.

Click here for more details on WWBIC’s ongoing business assistance.


53% of WWBIC clients with very poor credit improved their credit score

Encouraging Wisconsinites to lower their debt, increase their credit, and establish good spending and saving habits is also an important part of what we do. From free financial wellness courses like “Low Income? Level Up” and “The Power of Credit” and “Let’s Build Generational Wealth” to our popular “Make Your Money Talk” series co-sponsored by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, WWBIC is dedicated to teaching people how to better their financial situation.

Some of our financial wellness clients have dreams of starting their own business some day, but many are simply looking to purchase a vehicle or a house or finance their college education. Regardless of their financial goals, the end result is the same. Third party research shows that 53% of WWBIC clients with very poor credit improved their credit score, which is 14% better than the control group from the same research.

“Being a homeowner has always been a dream of mine,” says Monnike Brooks, a Make Your Money Talk program graduate. “The resources provided to me really set the tone to make this become a reality. In March of 2021, I closed on the house I now call home.”

Get more details on WWBIC’s financial wellness sessions here or find out about the Make Your Money Talk program here.


“I am where I am today because you stood at the door of opportunity and held it open for me.”

WWBIC opens the doors of opportunity by providing underserved individuals who are interested in starting, strengthening or expanding businesses with access to critical resources such as responsible financial products and quality business and financial training.

We focus on individuals who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources in pursuit of their dreams and economic well-being – in particular women, people of color, veterans, rural and lower wealth individuals.

Every day we work hard to achieve our social goal of improving the economic well-being of individuals by advancing inclusive entrepreneurship and facilitating self-sufficiency strategies.

“I am where I am today because you stood at the door of opportunity and held it open for me,” says WWBIC client and owner of GSI General Contracting, Benjamin Clark. “I have always stressed to my peers how you assisted me and GSI over the years.”

Click here for details on WWBIC’s new Black Business Boost program funded by PNC Bank.


WWBIC’s work is not done. Our march continues.

While we have moved the needle for many, WWBIC’s work is not done. Our march continues.

Access to fair and responsible capital continues to be a struggle for many entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially those with subprime credit scores or lack of assets. This analysis of WWBIC’s outcomes, coupled with our own analytics and client testimonials, demonstrate that WWBIC’s work is making strides in bolstering the economic vitality of low-income and underserved entrepreneurs and in our local communities.

So what’s next for WWBIC? Click here for details on our 2022-2025 strategic plan.

$23.5 million — Current WWBIC Loan Portfolio

Active WWBIC Borrowers

Direct jobs created and retained by WWBIC borrowers

$174.2 million — Annual economic activity directly and indirectly generated as a result of WWBIC loans


In 2022, WWBIC is celebrating 35 years of impact in Wisconsin and beyond. We are 35 and thriving, with 70 employees and an ever-growing loan portfolio and program offerings. How can you help ensure our success now and into the future?

Shop Small

Use our online client directory or browse our Shop Small Catalog to find WWBIC clients. Support them by giving them your business!


WWBIC’s network of over 400 volunteers are integral to assisting our clients and supporting our work. No matter what your area of expertise, you can help! If you have a passion for serving your community and believe entrepreneurs could benefit from your knowledge, please complete a Volunteer Application and reach out to learn more today!


Although our mission is to serve entrepreneurs, WWBIC itself is a non-profit organization. Consider making a tax-deductible donation directly to WWBIC. Get more details on our Donations page.

Work for Us

WWBIC is hiring! Find out about positions currently available here.

Black Business Boost

Black Business Boost

Black Business Boost


WWBIC’s Black Business Boost Program has reached full capacity, and as a result, we are no longer accepting new applications. We sincerely appreciate the overwhelming interest and support for the program.

We invite all entrepreneurs to take advantage of our free WWBIC business training offerings which can be found here:

For entrepreneurs in need of access to capital who are looking to apply for a WWBIC or KIVA loan, please visit the following:

WWBIC lending:


Please feel free to send us an email at or check back periodically for updates on program availability.

Aiming to narrow the racial wealth gap, the Black Business Boost Program encourages black entrepreneurs to position their businesses as a pathway to building generational wealth. Black Business Boost is open to start-up and existing businesses, and takes participants on a sequenced journey through four building blocks that remove the traditional barriers in accessing capital.

WWBIC, in collaboration with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), administer Black Business Boost programming. PNC Bank is a foundational partner.

Credit Recovery & Support

Black Business Boost understands the important role that credit plays in the wealth gap that has hindered black businesses. To eradicate this barrier, our program provides scholarships for program participants to recover and optimize their credit through one-on-one credit coaching with credit recovery experts to improve credit scores and financial wellness.

Acceleration & Incubation

Understanding the importance of black businesses to be able to make strategic connections, plan and grow in a professional setting, Black Business Boost provides scholarships for businesses to participate in Acceleration & Incubation programs that support ideation and growth for early stage and developing companies. Some options include (but are not limited to): Wellspace MKE and Upstart Kitchen coworking spaces; accelerators such as Scale-up’s SPARC, and RISE offered by the African American Chamber of Commerce.

Technical Assistance and Training

Black Business Boost provides clients with business technical assistance. This assistance is available in the form of business training, one-on-one business coaching, and group training events. Scholarships are available for WWBIC’s at-cost trainings, and all participants will have access to technical assistance services provided by WWBIC.

Equity and Loan Support

Black Business Boost recognizes that one of the biggest challenges that black entrepreneurs face is finding the money they need. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), WWBIC provides fair and responsible lending to communities that mainstream finance doesn’t traditionally reach. Black Business Boost participants ready for capital are encouraged to apply. Lending clients are paired with a small business consultant to support them throughout the life of the loan.

Building Black Generational Wealth Series Training Sessions

The right business ecosystems can support and reduce the effects of structural obstacles to business building for black entrepreneurs. This series breaks down the four pillars of WWBIC’s Black Business Boost program and how it is a unique program that has created an ecosystem to help build black generational wealth for local entrepreneurs. 

All sessions are in person, take place from 8:30-11:00 am, and include a hot breakfast. NO FEE 

Schlitz Park Auditorium
1555 RiverCenter Dr., Milwaukee

Building Generational Wealth – From Loans to Legacies

Monday, April 29th, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Click here to register:

View/download/print our
Black Business Boost flyer

Black Business Boost is for start-up or existing businesses, and takes participants on a sequenced journey through four building blocks (credit recovery, technical assitance, training, acceleration and incubation, equity and loan support) that remove the traditional barriers in accessing capital. Applications are currently closed but stay tuned for more program details coming soon!


Questions? Contact:
Angelique Sharpe
Black Business Boost Program Manager

WWBIC 2021 Annual Celebration

WWBIC 2021 Annual Celebration

WWBIC 2021 Annual Celebration

The Next Vintage | Cultivating a Legacy

WWBIC is very pleased to invite you to join us this year for WWBIC’s annual showcase. This year we are modifying the format from a luncheon to an afternoon happy hour.

We are proceeding optimistically as we plan to host our event in person with an option to join us virtually. WWBIC’s commitment to small business remains steadfast. We invite you to join us as we look to the future and continue to create new ways of garnering support and matching resources with the needs of Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial community.

This year our celebration embraces the theme: The Next Vintage | Cultivating a Legacy. Our program will honor the roots of our past work, but also look toward the future with intention – cultivating our work, spaces, and places into our shared legacy full of hope. To embrace our nod to the future, we welcome Cristina Torres, Marimar Estates Director of Sales and Marketing, as our keynote speaker.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

2:30 PM to 5:30 PM CDT

Miller High Life Theatre
500 West Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203



Cristina Torres is a member of Familia Torres, a fifth generation family business with roots that trace back to the 17th century in Barcelona, Spain. Cristina inherited the love of the vineyard from her family and grew up working alongside her mother and their business namesake, Marimar.

The Torres family business has been handed down from father to son for five generations, but this is the first time that the baton will be passed from mother to daughter.

Cristina graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Cristina achieved the WSET Level 3 certification from the renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is in the process of obtaining the WSET Level 4 diploma. She is fluent in Catalan, Spanish, English and French.

Club ORO — Stories of Impact Sponsors

Club Plata — Small Biz Market Sponsors

Club Cobre — Wisconsin Makers Sponsors


Club Verde – Client Scholarship Sponsors

Andrea & Orendorff, LLP


Badger Liquor




Entrepreneurs Coalition

ERC Midwest

Foley & Lardner

Godfrey & Kahn

Housing Authority for the City of Milwaukee (HACM)

Hurtado Zimmerman

Ixonia Bank

Marquette University Institute for Women’s Leadership

Landmark Credit Union

Lincoln Property Company

Machare & Associates

Michael Best & Friedrich

Milwaukee Bucks

North Shore Bank

Palermo Villa

Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren sc

RitzHolman CPAs

TEMPO Milwaukee

Town Bank


WaterStone Bank


Zizzl, LLC

CLUB AZUL – Corporate  Sponsors

BioForward ~ City of Middleton/Mike Davis ~ City of West Allis ~ Clark Gridley/Carl Trimble ~ Diamond Discs International ~ Grandville BID/EDC ~ Greater Milwaukee Committee ~ Heartland Information Research ~ Hmong Chamber of Commerce ~ Irene Strohbeen & Associates ~ Marcus Hotels ~ Milwaukee Business Journal ~ Milwaukee Development Corporation ~ Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 ~ Milwaukee Northshore Rotary ~ Mueller Communications ~ New Covenant Housing Corporation ~ One Community Bank ~ Realty4Good ~ Self-Help Federal Credit Union ~ SCORE ~ Tri-City National Bank ~ U.S. Small Business Administration ~ Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions ~ Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation ~ Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Media Club Sponsors

88 Nine Radio Milwaukee

BizTimes Media (Milwaukee Business News)

El Conquistador Latino Newspaper

Milwaukee Business Journal

Shepherd Express



The city of Milwaukee remains in the “excessive transmission” category for COVID-19. There is no required mask mandate in the city of Milwaukee, and as such, we have the following precautions in place for our event.

  • All in-person event attendees are encouraged to wear a mask except when they are eating or drinking, regardless of their vaccination status
  • All in-person food and beverages will be single serve and will include a happy hour beverage and Spanish Tapas
  • In the Theatre, the Orchestra Section is reserved for Premiere Sponsors and the Mezzanine Section is reserved for General Admission
    (To allow for social distancing, we will have open seating in these areas so attendees can choose a location that works best for them)
  • Virtual Attendees will get an event box mailed to their company event liaison

We will continue to monitor both national and local guidelines, keeping our attendees updated on any changes to our policy or event agenda.

Thank you for your cooperation and support!