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SBA Awards Two Wisconsin Organizations PRIME Grants to Help Emerging Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

Nationally, SBA Awards $5 Million to Assist Low-Income Entrepreneurs and Support Economic Development in Distressed Communities
Release Date: 
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Release Number: 
Shirah Apple/

MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC) and ADVOCAP, based in Fond du Lac, have received grants  from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital through the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs, more commonly known as PRIME. WWBIC was awarded $198,000 and ADVOCAP received $128,694. These awards will support their efforts to train and provide technical assistance to strengthen Wisconsin-based economically disadvantaged businesses.

“These funds from the SBA will help both WWBIC and ADVOCAP make an impact on entrepreneurs trying to take their business to the next level and make it sustainable,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “This business development also will make an impact on local economies and help spur economic development and job creation in distressed areas, which is a key element of SBA’s strategy.”


SBA Wisconsin District Director Eric Ness added, “These two organizations are longtime SBA Wisconsin partners who provide both access to capital and small business assistance. Wisconsin’s small businesses and communities will benefit from this ongoing support by the SBA.”


For 2019, the SBA placed special emphasis on those projects serving entrepreneurs in Opportunity Zones, rural areas and Historically Underutilized Business Zones. The 30 PRIME grant recipients represent 22 states and eight, including WWBIC,  are in Opportunity Zones, which were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and are designed to spur new capital investment in America’s economically distressed communities. More than 8,760 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories are designated as Opportunity Zones.


“WWBIC is so pleased to bring the PRIME grant back to Wisconsin to continue to serve entrepreneurs and business owners. WWBIC’s strategic plan advances exemplary customer service along with aligned growth and sharing social impact,” said Wendy Baumann, WWBIC’s president and CEO. 


“ADVOCAP is extremely pleased to accept its second PRIME award,” said Mike Bonertz, ADVOCAP’s executive director. “These funds will enable us to continue our work with rural and low-income entrepreneurs in our three-county service area, which has significant need for these funds.”


This year more than 130 organizations applied for PRIME grants, which range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50% in matching funds or in-kind contributions. PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2019, and the project period for each grant is one year.




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