Green Bay agencies will receive $1.3 million for various business ventures
GREEN BAY – Regina Rudoi wants more women and diverse business owners to have the same opportunity that NEWCAP is offering to her commercial cleaning company, Pro Touch Commercial.
Rudoi, a native of Moldova, said she doesn’t have the social capital to promote and market Pro Touch, her home business. NEWCAP’s Michelle Madl helped Rudoi secure a grant to set up a website, create an online presence, and print brochures and business cards. The support helped Pro Touch secure deals and expand its workforce, deals it would never have completed without personal support.
“Thank you for this opportunity to give businesses like mine access to be heard, have a voice and provide a fair start to compete in the local community,” Rudoi said on Wednesday.
Women, minorities, and experienced entrepreneurs will see more of this type of one-on-one engagement after the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. On Broadway Inc. and NEWCAP has presented more than $1.3 million in various business support grants. WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes announced the awards — $985,000 for On Broadway and $331,000 for NEWCAP — in the Broadway District on Wednesday.
Both organizations plan to use the money to more actively engage minorities, women and experienced business owners who often face additional barriers when it comes to funding, training, support and getting started.
The region’s minority population is growing
The grants also come at a time when Black, Asian, Hispanic and Indigenous populations are growing in Green Bay and northeastern Wisconsin. The 2020 U.S. Census showed that the minority population in Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties has increased 60% since 2010, while the white population has increased just 3%. People of color make up 36% of Green Bay residents today.
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The grants will complement additional resources and employees that the City and Chamber of Commerce of Greater Green Bay have invested in various business developments, said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.
“We really want to uplift underprivileged and disadvantaged entrepreneurs and business owners to create these ladders of opportunity for people interested in building better lives for themselves, their families and their communities,” Genrich said.
The $1.3 million in funding, which NEWCAP and On Broadway are receiving, is part of a second round of awards of $15.7 million for Diverse Business Assistance Grants this year. WEDC has now awarded more than $100 million to diverse businesses and business organizations that support minorities, women and experienced entrepreneurs.
“This investment will open doors for startups and small businesses,” Hughes said. “It’s really exciting to see another opportunity to invest in the future of Green Bay. These investments will help bring so many different possibilities to life.”
On Broadway will use its grant to hire two people to hire, mentor and support business owners of color, women and veterans, Executive Director Brian Johnson said.
Grants help companies take the next step
The grant will also allow On Broadway to offer micro-grants to help growing businesses make the leap from food truck to restaurant or from home-based business to downtown retailer. The grants should help ensure equal access to spaces in new developments such as the Green Bay Public Market and the Shipyard Redevelopment Area.
It’s the kind of support and encouragement that Bay Area Burger Co.’s Cole Ductan said has helped him make the jump from a food truck business to space rentals on Broadway. Bay Area Burger is still working on renovations but expects to open at 126 S. Broadway this year.
“I couldn’t do this without the grants that I received, guidance from the Broadway District,” Ductan said, adding that he’s also taken advantage of grants to improve the city’s facade. “All the businesses that are popping up, the new business owners, the family businesses that the city has taken over are amazing.”
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NEWCAP will use its grant to hire two people to help teach individual business owners all the skills they need to run their business, whether it’s creating a business plan or navigating permits or bookkeeping. The grant will also help NEWCAP provide business support services to seven Native American communities in NEWCAP’s service area.
“Knowing who can help and where to go is key (for business owners),” Madl said. “There are so many more opportunities to come because of these dollars.”
Contact Jeff Bollier at (920) 431-8387 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JeffBollier.
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