SBA: Awards WWBIC $150,000 PRIME Grant to help emerging micro-entrepreneurs gain access to capital

Contact: Shirah Apple, 414-841-7013, [email protected]


SBA awards WWBIC $150,000 PRIME Grant to help emerging micro-entrepreneurs gain access to capital

Nationally, $5 Million Granted to Fund Training and Capacity Building Projects to Strengthen Entrepreneurial Efforts in Rural Areas and HUBZones


MILWAUKEE– The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)  will receive a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME).   With its PRIME award, WWBIC will continue to provide business education, training, and counseling for 220 disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs through their “Job Creation through Enhancing Opportunities for Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs” program, projected to result in 20 new business starts and 90 new full-time jobs. Those served will be located in low income, low employment Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones), or rural areas.

“The SBA plays a vital role in expanding support to small businesses by ensuring they have the tools needed to start and expand their businesses, creating more jobs and opportunities at the local level,” said SBA Region V Administrator Rob Scott. 

The SBA’s PRIME grants help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses. This year’s 32 recipients in 24 states and the District of Columbia will receive grants ranging from $75,000 to $250,000, totaling $5 million. In total, 111 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2018.   In addition to WWBIC, ADVOCAP, an SBA micro-lender based in Fond du Lac, received its first $125,000 PRIME grant this year.

“WWBIC has worked with the SBA’s Women’s Business Center, micro- and Community Advantage lending programs to assist thousands of disadvantaged small and micro-businesses all over Wisconsin,” said Eric Ness, the SBA’s Wisconsin district director. “This PRIME grant continues the work done with grant received in FY2017 and will further enhance their reach to help the Badger state’s smallest businesses succeed.”

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in rural areas and HUBZones. 

 “These SBA PRIME funds truly allow WWBIC to reach deeper into our communities both in urban neighborhoods – specifically Milwaukee and Racine– as well as in rural communities,” said Wendy Baumann, WWBIC’s chief visionary officer.  “WWBIC will couple its financial and business educational programming along with micro- and small business loans and target very low-income individuals.” 

This year’s awards also emphasized organizations participating in the SBA’s Community Advantage Program.  This program provides mission-oriented, nonprofit lenders access to the SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown micro-lending but are not able to access more traditional financing including funding from SBA commercial lending partners.  Eight Community Advantage Lenders were selected for PRIME grant awards.

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in the Micro-Entrepreneurs Act of 1999.  Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2018, and the project period for each grant is one year. For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and for a list of this year’s grantees, go online to