The PNC Foundation announced a Black Business Boost grant Wednesday. The $600,000 grant aims to support Black entrepreneurs and business owners in underinvested neighborhoods of Milwaukee.
The pilot program is a partnership between PNC, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, and the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.
The program will include direct equity investments, technical assistance, credit recovery, one-on-one mentoring, and more. Black Business Boost is also designed to connect at least 100 qualified individuals and business entities with resources and capital.
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.
Carolyn Walker, owner at Great Impressions LLC in Milwaukee, said she was able to get her jump-start as a business owner in Milwaukee more than 20 years ago, thanks to initiatives like the Black Business Boost.
“Initially, I started out in WWBIC’s start smart program, when it was just a thought in my mind to start a business,” said Walker.
Her business started in her basement more than 23 years ago, and has been growing since then. Walker said it’s because of programs and grants like these that she has been able to thrive.
“I do take great pride in being a female minority, especially in this industry,” said Walker.
She hopes the program will help other Black business owners in Milwaukee succeed and accomplish the goals they’ve set out, just like she was able to.
Milwaukee Common Council President, Cavalier Johnson says resources like this are critical for the city.
“It provides opportunities for entrepreneurs, particularly here in the city of Milwaukee with women and people of color to give them some foundation to help them realize their entrepreneurial dreams and create jobs and opportunities in neighborhoods across the city,” said Cavalier.
The PNC grant will be dispersed into the fund over a three-year period. Interested entrepreneurs and business owners can register here.