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SBA Awards ADVOCAP $125,000 PRIME Grant to Help Emerging Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

Nationally, $5 Million Granted to Fund Training and Capacity Building Projects to Strengthen Entrepreneurial Efforts in Rural Areas and HUBZones
Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Release Number: 
Shirah Apple,


FOND DU LAC, Wis. ADVOCAP  is set to receive a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME).  With its PRIME award, ADVOCAP will focus on the rural poor with an array of training and technical assistance services provided by the agency and its longtime partners.  Specifically, this funding will assist 65 rural low- and very low-income people to receive training, hands-on support, and financing to be successful entrepreneurs, with the goal to help 25 entrepreneurs start and/or expand their businesses.

“The SBA plays a vital role in expanding support to small businesses by ensuring they have the tools needed to start and expand their businesses, creating more jobs and opportunities at the local level,” said SBA Region V Administrator Rob Scott. 

The SBA’s PRIME grants help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses. This year’s 32 recipients in 24 states and the District of Columbia will receive grants ranging from $75,000 to $250,000, totaling $5 million. In total, 111 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2018.  

 “ADVOCAP’s PRIME award—their first ever—will  further the success of their small, rural business clients in Fond du Lac, Green Lake, and Winnebago counties.  SBA’s research has found that entrepreneurs who receive training and support stay in business longer and are more successful,” said Eric Ness, the SBA’s Wisconsin district director. The other Wisconsin PRIME recipient, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), received a $150,000 award this year.

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in rural areas and HUBZones


"ADVOCAP is extremely pleased to accept this grant award,” says Mike Bonertz,  ADVOCAP’s executive director.  “It will allow us to significantly increase our work with rural and low income entrepreneurs in the three counties we serve, which certainly need of this kind of development.”

This year’s awards also emphasized organizations participating in the SBA’s Community Advantage Program.  This program provides mission-oriented, nonprofit lenders access to the SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown microlending but are not able to access more traditional financing including funding from SBA commercial lending partners.  Eight Community Advantage lenders were selected for PRIME grant awards.   

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in the Micro-Entrepreneurs Act of 1999.  Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2018, and the project period for each grant is one year. For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and for a list of this year’s grantees, go online to



About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit