2023 WWBIC Luncheon Highlights

2023 WWBIC Luncheon Highlights

WWBIC extends a sincere thank you to the over 1000 attendees who made our 2023 annual luncheon a resounding success! Clients, funders, partners, volunteers, staff and friends all gathered at the Brookfield Conference Center on November 28th to honor “The Cities of Our State.”

At the centerpiece of this theme, WWBIC presented a panel of seven mayors from across the state: John Antaramian of Kenosha, Dan Devine of West Allis, Cavalier Johnson of Milwaukee, Cory Mason of Racine, Mitch Reynolds of La Crosse, Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison and Jake Woodford of Appleton. These leaders openly discussed the state of small business in their communities with emcee Mary Stoker Smith of Fox 6 Milwaukee. Before and after the luncheon, over 80 entrepreneurial clients showcased their products in the Small Biz Market. Centerpieces, coffee and desserts featuring WWBIC clients were also shared with attendees.

Follow the links provided on this page for a video of the luncheon and Fox 6 video clips from the Small Biz Market, or click here to see event coverage from the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Click on the link above for a video of the full program from the 2023 WWBIC Annual Luncheon.

Special thanks to Brian Kramp and the team at Fox 6 Milwaukee for covering our Small Biz Market the morning of the event. See our clients in these segments on the Wake Up show and Real Milwaukee show.

View an interactive list of all our sponsors here

Associated Bank and Brewers Community Foundation Announce Continued Support of WWBIC Clients

Associated Bank and Brewers Community Foundation Announce Continued Support of WWBIC Clients

WWBIC is thrilled to announce the continued support of Associated Bank and the Brewers Community Foundation for our clients through new funding for 2023.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of these two outstanding organizations,” says WWBIC President and CVO Wendy Baumann. “These funds will help 15 of our clients continue their success in serving their communities and also allow us to continue to serve even more small businesses across Wisconsin in the future.”

Read our press release with complete details here

Clients receiving grants are as follows (photos provided below also):

About You Solutions (Lodi)

Battlebox Studios Limited (Milwaukee)

Chicago’s House of Hoagies (Menasha)

Duncan’s Dog Daycare (Madison)

Esperanza Coffee Collective (Kenosha/Racine)

Fleet Clean (Madison)

I Love Tamales (Racine)

Jamaican Season Island (Milwaukee)

Metric Forrest Studio (Madison)

MOR Foods (Milwaukee)

Mr. Green’s BBQ (Milwaukee)

The Pink Bakery (Milwaukee)

PUSH Fitness MKE (Milwaukee)

ShowTime Alloy Wheel Repair (Milwaukee)

Twisted Plants (Cudahy)

2022 Annual WWBIC Luncheon

2022 Annual WWBIC Luncheon

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Location: Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Milwaukee
Event Center and Legacy Ballroom; onsite complimentary parking available
Format: In Person with Live Stream alternative
Time: 10:30 am, Small Biz Market
12:00 noon, Luncheon & Program
1:30 pm, Networking & Small Biz Market
Registration: Online at WWBIC.givesmart.com
Sponsorships: Begin at $1,000; Individual tickets $75
Questions: Lisa Sullivan, Event Manager – 414-395-4544

WWBIC works hard every day expanding economic equity and empowering individuals as business owners. Our 35th anniversary luncheon celebration showcases decades of impact and connects our small business community to our many partners and supporters. The celebration is two-fold in nature, with a small business market followed by a luncheon and program.

The Small Biz Market will feature over 50 WWBIC supported businesses. Attendees are encouraged to come early or stay late and meet many local small business owners. WWBIC loves connecting these clients to our partners and supporters!

During our program, you’ll hear first-hand about the work and impact of WWBIC from our President/CVO Wendy Baumann, WWBIC clients and national industry leaders. WWBIC looks forward to increasing support and opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

Intentional work with our partners truly helps advance economic equity. Together, we are making a difference – “Putting Dreams to Work” through supporting small businesses and helping individuals improve their financial wellness.

Looking for a livestream of the WWBIC annual luncheon on November 15th? Go to:


If you do not have a GiveSmart membership, click on the “Continue as guest” option.


Donna J. Gambrell is President & CEO of Appalachian Community Capital, which attracts and directs investments to CDFIs and other mission-driven lenders in Appalachia. Gambrell serves on several CDFI boards and is the board chair of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Towson State University and a Master of Science degree from New York University.


Dan Betancourt is President & CEO of Community First Fund with over 25 years of experience in community economic development lending. Under Betancourt’s leadership, Community First Fund has grown into a regional Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), attracting multimillion-dollar investments and with nearly $200 million under management.


Connie E. Evans is President & CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the national trade association for microbusiness representing over 1700 practitioners and advocates in the United States. With international experience spanning 43 countries, Evans draws on her expertise in developing and implementing strategies to further economic development, health and social change in communities.

Lead Sponsor

Shop Small Sponsor

Stories of Impact Sponsors

Small Biz Market Sponsors

Anniversary Sponsors

WWBIC Makers Sponsors

WWBIC 35th Anniversary Reception at Wisconsin Governor’s Residence

WWBIC 35th Anniversary Reception at Wisconsin Governor’s Residence

WWBIC celebrated our 35th anniversary yesterday when 150 funders, partners, policy makers, clients and staff gathered at the Governor’s Executive Residence for working meetings and a reception.

Thank you to all who attended – working together we advance hope and opportunity one business at a time!

We’re sharing a series of photos on this page from the event for your enjoyment. Please click on the right or left arrows to browse through the pictures.

We invite you to join us as the celebration continues on a larger scale in Milwaukee on November 15th for WWBIC’s annual luncheon and small biz market.

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.

Make Your Money Talk

Make Your Money Talk

Make Your Money Talk

Register today for “Make Your Money Talk”!

Join us for this financial empowerment series to learn:

  • How to create a household budget
  • Tips and tricks to improve your credit score
  • Planning your SMART goals
  • Identifying spending leaks
  • …and more!

Pre-registration required. Receive a gift card upon completion of the course! All HACM residents qualify for a 4:1 match account: Save $500 and receive a match of $2000! Accounts will be opened on the same day at the end of boot camp.

Light refreshments will be provided. Attendees must bring:

  • Picture ID
  • $50.00 money order or cashier’s check
  • Proof of income (last two paystubs or SSI/SSA 2023 award letter)

This program is sponsored by HACM & WWBIC. Participation can count towards HACM Family Self Sufficiency Program Goals.

Spring 2024 Graduation Celebration
Tuesday, June 18th – 6:00-7:00 pm
Register online

Plan now for the fall – three dates for your convenience!
All take place on Saturdays from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
at the WWBIC Milwaukee office – 1533 N RiverCenter Drive

August 17th
Register online

September 21st
Register online

October 19th
Register online