WWBIC Earns Diverse Community Capital Grant from Wells Fargo to Spark Small Business Growth
Funding will help Milwaukee create new jobs and grow across Wisconsin
Wells Fargo announced a new boost to diverse small businesses today in Milwaukee with a $500,000 grant to Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC). The funding is a part of the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program, which offers capital and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses as a way to create local jobs and strengthen neighborhoods.
The grant will focus on advancing infrastructure for WWBIC’s loan and lending operations and enhancing customer service, directly impacting Hispanic and Veteran entrepreneurs and business owners.
“This significant investment is extremely helpful,” said WWBIC’s President and CVO Wendy Baumann. “The funds will allow us to build our infrastructure – further and faster is ideal as we continue to serve the many diverse business owners in need of financial support.
“Last year alone, WWBIC served more than 5,000 clients and lent to more than 130 businesses, so we are in growth mode,” continued Baumann.” In 2018, 87 percent of Greater Milwaukee Area clients served were minority individuals. We are making an impact, and Wells Fargo’s support allows us to excel.”
“WWBIC is deeply embedded in Wisconsin communities and has the skill to deliver personalized coaching and services to underserved small business owners,” said WellsFargo Region Bank President Tony Nguyen. “Together we can help more diverse entrepreneurs reach their full potential and stimulate job creation in the process. We’ve learned that working with CDFIs is an effective way to try new things, help remove barriers and put more small businesses on a path to financial success.”
As part of its new philanthropic strategy announced in June, Wells Fargo is focusing on three societal challenges: housing affordability, small business growth and financial health. The Diverse Community Capital program is a critical component to the small business strategy and supports business owners who are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Pacific Islander, Asian-American, women, Veterans, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.
Launched in 2015, the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). According to OFN’s latest report, DCC awardees have already made loans to more than 16,000 diverse small businesses across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In addition, grant funding has provided for more than 322,000 hours of development services for over 49,000 diverse small business owners. Wells Fargo is on track to invest more than $175 million in diverse small businesses growth through 2020.
Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC) is a leading, innovative economic development corporation “Putting Dreams to Work.” WWBIC’s primary focus is on women, people of color and low income individuals, providing direct lending and access to fair and responsible capital, quality business education, one-on-one technical business assistance and education to increase financial capability. Since 1987, WWBIC has lent more than $67 million in micro and small business loans with a current loan portfolio of $20 million and more than 500 active borrowers. To learn more about WWBIC visit: www.wwbic.com
About Wells Fargo
Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,600 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com). With approximately 263,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. With its corporate philanthropy, WellsFargo aims to pave a path to stability and financial success for underserved communities by focusing on housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health, among other local community needs. In 2018, Wells Fargodonated $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits. For 10 consecutive years, Wells Fargo has held the honor of No. 1 in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide. Wells Fargoteam members also actively support communities by donating more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in the last year. News, insights and more information on the company’s overall corporate responsibility are available at Wells Fargo Stories and www.wellsfargo.com/impact.