The Riverwest Investment Cooperative has started a microlending program in cooperation with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.
Small businesses in the 53212 zip code would benefit from the microloans. The aim is to encourage economic development, entrepreneurial projects and care for the community.
“The concept of the cooperative is to provide an investment vehicle for people in the neighborhood to be able to direct community development,” Stocco said.
RIC is currently raising $25,000 to fund the program, both from Riverwest community members and the sales of a single family home it renovated on Weil Street.
“The ideal scenario for funding the program is to sell the property and then use the proceeds from that property to fund the program,” Stocco said. “In the same light, we have multiple people who have expressed interest in funding the program.”
While WWBIC has not distributed any loans yet, the RIC has been holding informational meetings for business owners and directing them toward WWBIC for loans.
The program could build a bridge between businesses and their neighbors, Stocco said.
“If people in the community have a direct interest via their investment into seeing a business grow, they might be more willing to use that business, they might take an active approach to that business,” he said. “If a business sees the community is investing more directly in them, they might be willing to do things that are more community friendly.”