Associated Bank’s $1 million investment and partnership with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. will help launch and expand more women and minority-owned businesses in Kenosha and Racine counties.
The Green Bay-based bank made the investment earlier this week from its community development program, which is designed to help nonprofits and other community organizations. The funds were made to WWBIC’s “Putting Dreams to Work” Loan Opportunity Fund. This was the first investment partnership Associated has made with WWBIC.
Heather Lux, regional project director for WWBIC’s Kenosha-Racine offices, said the Associated Bank partnership coupled with the local community development business grant can help fund more business start-ups, expansions and education programs.
“It’s really exciting and great to have partners. Demand for our lending and education programs continues,” Lux said.
She noted that last year 12 loans were made in Kenosha County, amounting to slightly more than $500,000. The program also served 400 individuals with education and technical assistance.
Meanwhile, her organization is continually developing a pipeline of new business owners, with a focus on helping prospective business owners who may be low-income, women or minorities.
Under the partnership, Associated also plans to send employees to participate in seminars on several subjects, including turning a hobby into a business, identity theft protection, budgeting and understanding debt.
John Utz, Associated’s executive vice president, head of banking and the Milwaukee market president, said the company has a rich tradition of supporting businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the communities in which they do business.
“By investing in the work that WWBIC does throughout Wisconsin, we’re able to help small business owners across the state achieve success,” Utz said in a statement.