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$1 million loan pool established to spur north side Milwaukee business

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel logo Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 7/12/2019 Talis Shelbourne
Mandela Barnes sitting in a chair talking on the phone: State Rep. David Bowen and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes participate in an announcement at the Northwest Side Community Development Center of a $1 million loan pool to help startups and small businesses.© Talis Shelbourne / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel State Rep. David Bowen and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes participate in an announcement at the Northwest Side Community Development Center of a $1 million loan pool to help startups and small businesses.

Startups and small businesses near Milwaukee's 35th Street corridor will now be able to apply for a loan thanks to the $1 million loan pool established by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.'s Capital Catalyst program at the Northwest Side Community Development Center.

Mandela Barnes sitting in a chair talking on the phone© Provided by Gannett Co., Inc.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes announced the partnership at a news conference Friday, where he also noted priority will go to minority- and women-owned businesses in the local business clusters of energy and power, food and beverage, and water technology.

Barnes said it's important to focus on small-business owners who struggle to obtain a conventional loan because they bring a diversity of ownership and ideas to the business market.

Having grown up near the development center's headquarters on 4201 N. 27th St., Barnes said the need for entrepreneurship in that area spoke for itself.

"People have a lot of good ideas but don't have the economic base to help them prosper," he said

This $1 million loan pool aims to do just that.

WEDC provided the center with a $500,000 grant, which the development center matched to create the $1 million loan pool.

Howard Snyder, the executive director of the development center, said the loan pool represents the first time the center has set aside funds specifically for early businesses and startups in that area.

He said the loan pool is an opportunity to invest in the residents and entrepreneurs of his community.

"We've been doing the best that we can with what we have," he said. "A lot of people think we need to do more with less. There are ways to be innovative with less resources, but don't kid yourself ... we can do less."

"But today, we can do more," he said. "Today, we get a chance to wealth-build."

Willie Smith, the director of lending, said the center is looking to provide seven loans of up to $200,000.

He consults with clients to assess whether they need a loan or more technical business assistance.

"Not everybody is ready," he said. "We work to help get them there."

The center works with the African American Chamber of Commerce, several banks and other groups to connect business owners with the resources that suit their needs.

"We now have a lot of space and potential to build something new," state Rep. David Bowen said. "I'm just happy that we are able to make a huge transition and open up some resources for smaller firms."

If you are interested in applying for a loan from this loan pool, contact Willie Smith, NWSCDC director of lending, at (414) 444-8200, ext. 8105.

Contact Talis Shelbourne at (414) 223-5261 or tshelbourn@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @talisseer and Facebook at @talisseer.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: $1 million loan pool established to spur north side Milwaukee business

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