U.S. Small Business Administration: Access to capital for underserved Wisconsin markets expanded

Contacts: Shirah Apple (414) 297-1096

WWBIC, WHEDA Leverage SBA Loan Guaranty

Milwaukee, WI–With an innovative agreement aligning financing to small businesses, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), are expanding access to capital by leveraging the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Advantage loan guaranty.

WHEDA is providing a one million dollar match of WWBIC loan dollars to small businesses as long as the deals meet WWBIC’s criteria and have the SBA Community Advantage guaranty. This SBA program enables borrowers to access loans up to $250,000 from community-based lenders, while its guaranty protects the lender in case of borrower default. WWBIC is one of four Community Advantage lenders in Wisconsin.

WWBIC recently closed the first two deals under this agreement to Harvest Consulting Company, LLC and Viking Brew Pub, LLC. Harvest Consulting Company, LLC, a mental health and addiction clinic in Racine, plans to use the $97,000 loan for equipment and to expand, creating additional jobs. Viking Brew Pub, LLC plans to use the $150,000 loan for equipment and working capital needed to start their Stoughton area brew pub, creating at least six jobs.

“This initiative channels more dollars to Wisconsin’s underserved small business borrowers, both urban and rural, outside of traditional lending channels,” says Eric Ness, SBA’s District Director for Wisconsin. “We welcome WWBIC and WHEDA’s collaborative approach—it’s a win for small businesses.”

WWBIC, an SBA Community Advantage lender, micro-lender, and Women’s Business Center, is a leading innovative statewide economic development corporation “Putting Dreams to Work.” WWBIC focuses on individuals who face barriers of traditional means by opening opportunity for pursuit of their dreams and economic well-being. WWBIC provides those who want to start, strengthen, or expand businesses with access to quality business education and responsible financial products, and helps low-income individuals improve economic well-being by building assets and advancing economic self-sufficiency. In 2014, WWBIC has financed 83 loans totaling $3.5 million statewide. (For more information on WWBIC, please visit http://www.wwbic.com)

Since the inception of the guaranty loan program, 13 loans totaling $1.1 million have been approved. “Leveraging financial structures between WWBIC, WHEDA, and then the SBA allows all to advance the collective work….starting, strengthening and expanding businesses and truly as we share at WWBIC ‘Putting Dreams to Work’,” said WWBIC President/CVO Wendy K. Baumann. “It is this type of innovative thought coupled with follow-through and working out the details that allows Wisconsin to further its economic development plans in both urban and rural communities.”

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) aims to stimulate the state’s economy and improve the quality of life for Wisconsin residents by providing affordable housing and business financing products. WHEDA works closely with lenders, developers, local government, nonprofits, community groups and others to implement its low-cost financing programs. Since 1972, WHEDA has made more than 29,000 small business and agricultural loan guarantees.

“WHEDA is delighted to collaborate with the WWBIC and SBA on this impactful initiative that will spur job creation by linking critical funding to job creators,” said WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston. “The initial success generated with Harvest Consulting Company and Viking Brew Pub is gratifying, and a promising sign for financing young companies under this exciting program.” (For more information on WHEDA, call 1-800-334-6873 or visit http://www.wheda.com.)

For more information on Community Advantage loans, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/community-advantage-loans. For more on SBA resources in Wisconsin, go to http://www.sba.gov/wi.

SBA was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government, committed to expanding access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities to drive economic growth and job creation. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov.