The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and is looking forward to furthering its motto of “putting dreams to work” for Milwaukee and Wisconsin as a whole for many years to come.
With a focus on women, people of color, lower-wealth individuals, and veterans and military-connected families, WWBIC provides direct lending, quality entrepreneurial training, one-on-one business counseling and guidance on increasing financial wellness.
“WWBIC has come a very long way since I started with the company in 1994,” said Wendy K. Baumann, WWBIC President and Chief Visionary Officer. “We’re now one of the nation’s top microlenders with more than 600 active borrowers and a loan portfolio of $23.5-million. But what really keeps me and WWBIC’s more than 60 employees going every day is our mission of providing entrepreneurship and financial wellness training, lending and coaching to under-represented groups who traditionally have difficulty gaining access to fair and responsible capital.”
Most training sessions presented by WWBIC are free to make them as accessible as possible for the community. These offerings start with financial wellness sessions for any Wisconsin resident on how to get out of debt, manage your money, and save for the future. In addition, the “Make Your Money Talk” series, co-sponsored by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM); provides tailored training for HACM residents throughout the year.
WWBIC also provides dozens of training sessions for aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs on topics including business planning, accounting, cash flow, human resources, marketing, and more. A full listing of offerings can be found any time at wwbic.com/trainings.
Providing loans and coaching for small business is also at the core of WWBIC’s services. WWBIC is the Wisconsin hub for Kiva US, a crowd-funding nanoloan platform which assists entrepreneurs with securing loans of $1,000- $15,000. WWBIC also issues larger loans of up to $350,000 in connection with the Small Business Administration and with the support of dozens of corporate donors, foundations, and individual supporters. They were recently ranked #18 on the Milwaukee Business Journal list of Wisconsin’s largest Small Business Administration lenders.
In 2021, with financial backing from PNC Bank, WWBIC and HACM also launched the Black Business Boost fund, a Milwaukee- based initiative that has provided funding and assistance to dozens of black-owned small businesses.
WWBIC is also the administrator of the Veterans Business Outreach Centers for Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.
As it embarks on another 35 years of impact and beyond, WWBIC is poised to continue to provide quality business and financial training, lending and wrap-around services to the small business community, and leverage the talent and expertise of their staff. To learn more about WWBIC, visit: wwbic.com.