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Written by Ayrianne Parks and Sam Rapoza The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, (WWBIC) is a long time member of the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, based in Wisconsin. WWBIC helps individuals who face barriers that keep them from getting the funding needed to start or keep their business running. On Sunday, Wendy K. Baumann, WWBIC President and CVO, was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Jody C. Raskind Lender Award, which was presented in Washington, D.C. by SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. The Jody C. Raskind Lender Award is annual SBA Award presented to “a mission-focused lender that has distinguished itself in helping small businesses start, grow and expand.” Stephanie Smokovich is a prime example of how WWBIC has helped small businesswomen fulfill their entrepreneurial goals. Stephanie Smokovich is an entrepreneur based in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where she owns and operates Bella Blvd.  Bella Blvd is a scrapbooking and memory…

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Written by Sam Rapoza The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) is a long time member of the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program. MACED is local to Kentucky, and partners with people local to the state who like Ms. Suramek, are keen on building upon the strengths of Kentucky and Central Appalachia through sustainable development. A recent example of this work is their help financing the socially and sustainably conscious restaurant Noodle Nirvana.  Mae Suramek, an aspiring restaurateur, was in need startup capital to open her socially conscious restaurant, Noodle Nirvana. Ms. Suramek had previously worked at Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, a regional, non-profit organization.  She had been drawn to the field by her desire to do advocacy, education, lobbying, programming, service delivery, but most of her work was focused on fundraising. Her drive to help her community fueled her notion to open her very own restaurant. Ms.…

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Written by Sam Rapoza This week is National Small Business Week. Since 1963, presidents have declared a week recognizing contributions of our country’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our members, the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, play an important role in supporting entrepreneurs the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan Program. This is the largest federal program exclusively targeted to supporting the credit needs of very small businesses and sole-proprietorships. Through a network of community-based, nonprofit Intermediaries, the SBA Microloan program provides small-dollar loans and technical assistance to small businesses that cannot secure credit from conventional lenders or other SBA guaranteed loans, including many women, low-income, veteran, and minority entrepreneurs. In celebration of this important week, we will be posting stories each day that highlight a business and the assistance a microloan intermediary played in helping make their business dreams a reality. The Entrepreneur Fund (Efund), is a great example of…

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On March 30th, the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program gathered in Washington, D.C. to meet with senior SBA staff and Members of Congress and their staff about their work as Microloan intermediaries.  As a part of the effort, the group hosted a Congressional Briefing in the House Small Business Committee Room.  Ayrianne Parks of Rapoza Associates welcomed attendees and shared findings from the Friends’ May 2016 Report on the Microloan Program.  Shawn Wellnitz of Entrepreneur Fund, Peter Hille of MACED, and Celina Peña of LiftFund presented on their work as intermediaries and shared examples of entrepreneurs they had helped realize their small business goals. Microloan borrowers included veteran, minority, women and low-income entrepreneurs who started a variety of businesses, ranging from a brewer and pizza-maker to a chicken farmer, a welder, a construction business, and an event designer. If you missed the event or would like electronic copies of…

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Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), a member of the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, is turning 40! The organization, which is a private non-profit lending institution offering loans to small businesses in Colorado, provides technical assistance and capital to help promote business development and growth. In fact, CEF has loaned over $49 million to more than 1,700 businesses since 1976, helping create and retain more than 14,500 Colorado jobs. Continuing to build on its history of success, CEF announced a new partnership with the City of Loveland, which resulted in the creation of the Loveland Microloan Fund.  The Fund will provide financing for small businesses that do not qualify for traditional banking financing in the Loveland, Colorado.  Loveland granted an initial $150,000, which CEF will match.  Eligible small businesses may receive up to a $50,000 loan to cover business related activities such as start-up expenses, equipment and inventory purchases, operations, and…

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Accion recently received a recommendation from Business News Daily, which highlights the Friends member as the best alternative lender for startup loans. Accion was chosen from dozens of alternative lenders. Read the story…

The House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services Bill on June 17, on a vote of 30-to-20.  The bill provides a total of $20.2 billion in funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Securities and Exchange Committee, which is $1.3 billion below the FY15 allocation and $4.8 billion below the President’s budget request. The bill provides $853,000,000 for the SBA, and allocates a total of $223,600,000 specifically for necessary expenses of programs supporting entrepreneurial and small business development.  Of that amount, $117,000,000 is specifically designated to fund grants for performance in FY16 or FY17 pursuant to §21 of the Small Business Act, and $25,000,000 is allocated for marketing, management, and technical assistance under §7(m) of the Small Business Act by intermediaries that make microloans under the microloan program.  The amount recommended for technical assistance as well as the $35 million…

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Treasurer Spencer Coggs Keynote Speaker at Financial Education Graduation Milwaukee Courier Coggs stated “You are taking control of your future by participating and completing this course in financial literacy.” Sponsored by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), the 100 graduates had completed the classes they had taken since January 2015.

On June 10, 2015, the House Committee on Small Business held a markup to consider several bills, including H.R. 2670, the Microloan Modernization Act of 2015, which passed by voice vote. The bill contains seven sections.  Notably, Section 2 provides a waiver of the 25/75 rule.  Under the bill, intermediaries would be able to apply to the Administrator for a waiver to the requirements of §7(m)(4)(E)(i).  The Administrator would be required to follow notice-and-comment requirements to establish the waiver rule.  Section 3 of the Bill increases the microloan intermediary lending limit from $5,000,000 to $6,000,000.  Section 4 extends repayment terms for loans to small businesses.  For loans made by an intermediary of $10,000 or less, the repayment term shall not be more than 6 years.  For loans greater than $10,000, the repayment term shall not be more than 10 years.  Section 5 would authorize eligible intermediaries to make short-term lines…

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The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), a Friends of the SBA Microloan Program member, partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee to sponsor to the “Make Your Money Talk” financial education class.  Make Your Money Talk is a personal money management program that provides individuals with the opportunity to improve their personal money management skills, address credit issues, and develop a savings strategy.  The course teaches budgeting techniques, how to make good purchasing decisions, and how to develop a savings plan to help them reach their goals. This year 100 participants graduated from the course, completing classes they had been enrolled in since January 2015.  Milwaukee City Treasurer Spencer Coggs served as the graduation keynote speaker, and stressed the importance of financial literacy.  The graduates will be able to enter into the Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program, which matches individual’s savings with federal funds…

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