In The Wings: Agency helping women, minorities realize business dreams
This month on In The Wings, our topic is entrepreneurship.
Last week, we met the owner of a local startup, Spike Brewing. This week, we shift our focus to an organization helping economically disadvantaged individuals to start their businesses.
Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation, or WWBIC, is a wrap around organization for entrepreneurs.
It works with aspiring business owners at all stages of starting a business -- from education before launch, to providing access to capital in the form of lending money. WWBIC also offers ongoing support once the business launches, according to Chief Visionary Officer Wendy Baumann.
"Entrepreneuers are really fun to work with," she said. "They see the glass as half full, they have ideas, they're idea people. They only see it working out."
Decades of impact
WWBIC has been working in Wisconsin for 30 years, serving than 57,000 individuals since 1987, Baumann said. It has helped to start, expand or strengthen 4,385 unique business, and presently holds a loan portfolio of $16.8 million.
But what makes WWBIC truly different from other micro-lenders is its commitment to mission-driven lending.
In Milwaukee, 85 percent of WWBIC's clients are racial or ethnic minorities, a population where there is a "real or perceived unlevel playing field," Baumann said.
Additionally, nearly 70 percent of its clients are women with low-to-moderate household incomes.
For more about WWBIC, click the player below to hear our interview with Baumann.
Our coverage continues next week with more stories of entrepreneurship.
And click the tiles below to explore even more stories from our In The Wings series.