Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation: The Veteran Collaborative announces the creation of the Veteran Loan Fund

MILWAUKEE, WI – The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) is honored to be of twelve Community Development Financial Institutions announcing the creation of the Veteran Loan Fund, with Bank of America as the lead capital investor.

The Veteran Loan Fund aims to fill the financial and training gap that underserved veterans face when building a small business. This fund includes a network of veteran service organizations focused on technical assistance and formal business coaching coupled with a network of twelve specialized capital providers, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Eligible veterans benefit from free business coaching and loans with interest rates of 10% or less.

“For several years, WWBIC has been privileged to provide business development services to veterans as the Veterans Business Outreach Center for Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota,” says WWBIC President and Chief Visionary Officer Wendy K. Baumann. “So when we had the opportunity to work with Bank of America and other CDFIs on the Veteran Loan Fund, it was the perfect fit for us. We’re excited that this fund will allow us to provide even more financing and technical assistance to veteran entrepreneurs.”

It has been demonstrated that veterans returning to civil life, have a high preference for independence and entrepreneurship but lack access to capital, formal business training and a network of peers. The Veteran Collaborative, now rebranded Veteran Loan Fund, was born in 2017 as an effort to consolidate best business practices to engage with and support veteran entrepreneurs.

Specialized technical assistance partners include Bunker Labs, Vet Met, Vet to CEO, as well as local partnerships with Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE and SBDCs. The full list of member CDFI’s of this nationwide collaboration are, Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs (GA), Black Business Investment Fund (FLA), Business Impact Northwest (WA, OR), Colorado Enterprise Fund (CO), Dream Spring (NM), Economic and Community Development Institute (OH), Pathway Lending (TN, AL, KY), PeopleFund – managing member (TX), Pursuit – formerly Excelsior Growth Fund (NJ, NY, PA), Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation (WI).

The Veteran Loan Fund’s first $15 million round is made possible by a $5 million commitment of long-term, below market rate lending capital from Bank of America as the lead investor, along with historic support from other major institutions in the form of loan capital and grants. The fund plans to grow to $100 million within five years, an amount equal to the estimated annual demand for capital from Veteran entrepreneurs that do not receive any kind of funding.

Veteran Loan Fund loan recipients in Wisconsin will be complemented by the services of the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at WWBIC. VBOC is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. VBOC is funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on VBOC, go to wwbic.com/veterans or contact Wisconsin VBOC Co-Director Dan Newberry.

For more information on the Veteran Loan Fund, go to vet.loan. For details on applying for a loan through the Veteran Loan Fund, go to wwbic.com/loans or contact WWBIC Director of Lending Michael Hetzel.