$100,000 Grant to Boost Hmong Business Loan Program

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation award strengthens organization’s commitment to minority-owned businesses

MADISON, WI. May 9, 2014 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce a $100,000 grant for its statewide revolving loan fund program.

The grant will be used to recapitalize the Chamber’s revolving loan fund program, which provides loans ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to Hmong and southeast Asian-owned businesses with much needed capital for business startup or expansion projects. Since its inception, the fund has provided more than $400,000 in loans for businesses throughout the state.

WEDC has similar programs with the American Indian Chamber of Commerce and the African American Chamber of Commerce. The organization expects to soon announce a partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The seed capital that WEDC provides to these organizations is leveraged by matching funds from private and foundation sources.

“One of WEDC’s goals is to help ensure that capital for business startup and expansion is accessible to the underserved minority communities that sometimes struggle to secure traditional financing,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “The best way to do that is through grants to those organizations that directly serve businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans.”

 “The most efficient way to improve access to capital in the community is to empower the organization that knows its people and understands their challenges to serve them,” said Charles Vang, executive director of the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.

WEDC is recapitalizing the Hmong Chamber’s revolving loan fund with a $100,000 grant award that will leverage a $100,000 match provided by the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation and Tri-City National Bank. In addition, WEDC is working with the Hmong Chamber to build the chamber’s internal capacity for providing quality technical assistance to the businesses they serve.

This marks the third round of funding for the Hmong Chamber—a total of $400,000.

The announcement of the funding for Hmong Chamber comes less than two months after the African American Chamber of Commerce formally launched its revolving loan fund program with an informational meeting for businesses held at the Milwaukee Urban League offices. 

About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter  @_InWisconsin to learn more.