Ashland Area Development Corporation: Receives grant for nearly $2 million to assist entrepreneurs from diverse communities

Ashland,WI – Ashland Area Development Corporation (AADC) announced that it is the recipient of a Diverse Business Assistance Grant totaling $1,887,234 from the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

“This grant will help transform Ashland County’s business economy over the next three years,” said Carver Harries, AADC’s Executive Director. “The program will provide training and funding to entrepreneurs from Ashland County’s diverse communities which have historically faced barriers to accessing financing to launch businesses. The entrepreneur program will be open to women, Native Americans and other people of color, and LGBTQ+ people, meaning that approximately two-thirds of adults in Ashland County will be eligible.”

Harries added, “A substantial part of the total grant award will be used to fund down payments to assist in securing business loans. This will increase entrepreneurs’ ability to purchase property and equipment and invest more fully in northwest Wisconsin’s potential.”

Business plan development, classroom instruction, and mentorship will be pillars of this program, similar to AADC’s successful veteran entrepreneurs training program. Harries said, “It is my hope that entrepreneurs will launch new small businesses to fill some of the gaps in our business community such as childcare providers, small construction businesses, and mechanical repair services.”

The grants were recently announced by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as part of a second round of funding totaling more than $15 million to chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations that provide assistance to small business owners. The Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program is funded by the Federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.