WEDC awards $500,000 to Northwest Side Community Development Corp. for small business loan fund

Will target early stage women- and minority-owned companies

Willie Smith, NWSCDC’s director of lending

Last updated on November 21st, 2019 at 02:39 pm

Northwest Side Community Development Corp. has received a $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to support a $1 million loan pool for startups and small businesses.

NWSCDC matched the WEDC Capital Catalyst grant for the $1 million loan fund, which will target early stage women- and minority-owned companies in the energy and power, food and beverage and water technology sectors. It will serve companies that are generating some revenue but are not yet profitable.

Howard Snyder, executive director of NWSCDC, and Willie Smith, the corporation’s director of lending, will also provide technical assistance and mentoring to the small businesses.

“For a long time, we have struggled with making smaller loans to smaller companies,” Snyder said. “These dollars from WEDC give us that opportunity to finance the growth of entrepreneurs in Milwaukee in addition to creating new jobs.”

Smith said the nonprofit corporation has several startups and small businesses in its pipeline that will be able to scale up because of the loan fund.

“Because it is a revolving loan fund, we’re able to recycle these funds, which is great,” Smith said. “But at the same time, many of these businesses we work with are not necessarily in a position to get bank financing but they have a successful business. These funds can get the business the funding they wouldn’t otherwise receive through traditional means and that, I’d say, is the biggest advantage to these folks.”

NWSCDC, which was founded as a nonprofit corporation in 1983, provides business loans to midsize companies located on the northwest side of the city. Since 2000, it has lent more than $10 million to Milwaukee businesses, which have created more than 1,000 new jobs.

It assisted with financing the second phase development at Midtown Center and creating the Milwaukee Technology Incubator Center within DRS Power Controls and Technologies.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes announced the grant Friday at the NWSCDC office.

“We’ve been dead last in new business growth for a number of years, and we have to be intentional about changing that,” he said.

Barnes said the sectors that will benefit from the loans, particularly energy and power, will help position the state as a leader in renewable energy and conservation.

“We have our goal for carbon-free electricity by 2050,” he said. “This is how we help spur new businesses, this is how we help spur job creation as we strive to get to that goal.”

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