Federal grant will help create state’s first minority business development center

Milwaukee skyline
Milwaukee skyline

Last updated on December 23rd, 2022 at 10:40 am

Wisconsin’s minority business owners will no longer need to rely on out-of-state technical support.

The Wisconsin North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC) has been awarded a $1.61 million grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The funds will be used to create Wisconsin’s first business center aimed at helping minority-owned businesses. The business center will be operated through NCMSDC, and will be located in its office at 9300 W. Heater Ave., on Milwaukee’s far northwest side.

“This is the epitome of a public/private partnership at scale,” said Heather Olson, president and CEO of NCMSDC. “Operating the Wisconsin Minority Business Center in collaboration with our integrated ecosystem of partners will systemically leverage minority businesses’ access to contracts, capital, and markets. This is a game changer for achieving socioeconomic growth in Wisconsin.”

Minority business owners in Wisconsin currently use resources offered by offices in Detroit and Chicago. Through the Department of Commerce grant, NCMSDC, whose Wisconsin office is based in Milwaukee, will join a network of MBDA business centers.

This partnership will allow the Milwaukee office to provide technical assistance to Minority Business Enterprises. This will include counseling and mentoring, assisting with access to capital, contracts and grants, and supporting job creation and retention. The goal of the MBDA’s Business Center Program is to promote the growth and global competitiveness of America’s Minority Business Enterprises.

“We are going to have additional resources and services in our state to provide direct support to our minority business community,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin. “By investing in expanded access to the MBDA’s Business Center Program, we can build a stronger and more diverse small business economy in Wisconsin.”

“To give Wisconsin’s minority-owned businesses the access they need to succeed, we need to meet people where they are,” said Don Cravins, Jr., under secretary of commerce for minority business development. “The greatest obstacle facing minority-owned businesses is access — access to capital, access to contracts and access to markets. Expanding MBDA’s national network of business centers is critical to breaking down those barriers.”

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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