New program puts $600K toward Black businesses, entrepreneurs in Milwaukee

NOW: New program puts $600K toward Black businesses, entrepreneurs in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new pilot program aims to boost opportunities for Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Milwaukee.

Creators of the Black Business Boost Fund say it will increase equitable expansion in underserved communities.

The PNC Foundation is giving a $600,000 grant to launch the fund and it's expected to support at least 100 local Black businesses and entrepreneurs.

"Today we must be bold about the initiatives that can best position Black-owned businesses to start, to grow and to thrive," said PNC Regional President for Wisconsin, Chris Hermann.

Collaborators say the program is "putting dreams to work."

In addition to financial investment, the Black Business Boost Fund will offer tailored resources such as incubation, credit recovery and one-on-one mentoring.

The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) will administer the funding.

They will partner with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) to deliver technical assistance, and educational and mentoring opportunities.

Collaborators say economic opportunity is a "critical component" of equitable success.

"We staff, at Daddy's, over 23 people. At Dulaney (Real Estate) we staff three. And I'm grateful for that. We're small, but we're helping our local economy," said Angela Smith, owner of Daddy's Soul Food & Grille.

"I've said, especially as of late, that Milwaukee's new economy can't just be a 'silver bullet approach'. We tried that. We've been trying that for the past 40 years and it just hasn't worked. We need a new way forward," said Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.

The PNC grant will be dispersed into the fund over a three-year period.

According to a PNC press release, "the initiative aligns with PNC's broader commitment announced in June 2020 to dedicate $1 billion to help end systemic racism and support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low-and-moderate-income communities."

For more information on the Black Business Boost Fund, click here.

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