By Rhea Riley
One million dollars was awarded to The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI).
“We asked for a million dollars and received a million dollars,” said Barbara Kueny, Director of Development at WWBIC.
According to Kueny, the WWBIC was one of 264 certified organizations to receive a competitive financial award from the federal CDFI fund. The financial assistance is set to assist the WWBIC in reaching their goals within their 2018-2021 strategic plan.
“CDFI’s funds have a similar mission to WWBIC, in that it wants to strengthen lower income communities and communities that may be disadvantaged,” Kueny said on the organization’s similar financials goals.
The WWBIC is a statewide economic development corporation that focuses on financially assisting local businessowners and entrepreneurs. Through multiple partnerships, WWBIC produces programs and resources. These include, free and reduced priced business education courses, one-on-one technical assistance for business owners, and producing resources and products for businesses.
According to their website, last year the WWBIC loaned out six-million dollars to 117 business owners.
WWBIC grew out of the women’s empowerment movement in 1987 and was later certified as a CDFI in 1998. The corporation is open to assisting any new and existing business owners, but focus their efforts towards women, minorities and financially disadvantaged people.
“So, people who are more likely to be disadvantaged or have difficulty accessing traditional capital,” said Kueny can have the resources they need.
WWBIC has locations in Racine, Kenosha, Appleton, Waukesha and Madison with their headquarters in Milwaukee with various other satellite offices.
“What’s so great about this funding is that we can really use it to fund our lending operations,” said Kueny.
Since their establishment, WWBIC has received 11 awards from the CDFI. The federal award will help the WWBIC with three main services: loan loss reserve, technical assistance, and lending. The awarded finances will assist the WWBIC in executing their newest strategic plan.
“Strategic planning has allowed us to be more intentional, about the tasks we take on as an organization,” said Kueny. “I think the whole strategic plan has been overall beneficial for us.”
According to Kueny, the funds from the award are unrestricted, which can help with the growth and expansion for the WWBIC. This is the WWBIC’s second strategic plan. The board approved plan will allow the corporation to meet specific goals in funding local businesses and continue providing financial assistance.