Businesses owned by women and minorities in Kenosha and Racine counties may benefit from a new $1 million investment from Associated Bank.
The Green Bay-based bank made the investment earlier this week from its community development program, designed to help nonprofits and other community organizations. The funds were made to Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. “Putting Dreams to Work” Loan Opportunity Fund.
It marked 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 Bank 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.
“By investing in the work that WWBIC does throughout Wisconsin, we’re able to help small business owners across the state achieve success,” John Utz, Associated’s executive vice president, head of banking and the Milwaukee market president, said in a statement.