The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recently presented Associated Bank with its Minority Business Development Award, in recognition of Associated’s continuing investment in Revolving Loan Funds of the Hispanic Chamber of Wisconsin (HCCW) and the African American Chamber of Commerce (AACW).

The Revolving Loan Funds were established to make capital accessible to start-up and expanding minority businesses, according to Seyoum Mengesha, Minority Business Development Manager for WEDC’s Business and Industry Development group.

“We commend Associated’s engagement with the minority community,” said Mengesha, “and hope its efforts will encourage others to follow this visionary lead.”

In August, Associated contributed $50,000 to the AACW and HCCW Revolving Loan Funds – a donation that will help each fund support eight start-up or expansion businesses, in the process creating or retaining up to 20 jobs, generating tax revenues and building up wealth in the community.

“In addition to the monetary contribution," said Gwen Dansby, Associated's Vice President-Community Affairs and CRA Officer, "Associated will provide its financial expertise to assist the Chambers in bringing more access to capital for small businesses."

WEDC presented the award to Associated at its recent Governor’s Awards Luncheon at Potawatomi Expo Center, Milwaukee. The luncheon was held in conjunction with Marketplace 2012 – for more than 30 years, the premier business-building conference for minority entrepreneurs, including women and disabled veterans, and an outstanding opportunity for these entrepreneurs to meet prospective buyers, connect with small-business resources, agencies and programs, and learn how to leverage local, state and federal certification programs.

“We’re honored to have been recognized by this critically important organization,” said Andrew Ruehl, Associated Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. “One of our goals at Associated is to promote the health, strength and stability of the communities we serve, for the long-term benefit of everyone concerned. And contributing to these Revolving Loan Funds is one of the best ways we’ve found to help make that happen.”

Pictured: Secretary Paul Jadin, WEDC; Mr. Eugene Shawano, Tribal Administrator of Forest County Potawatomi ; Joe Nelson, Business Banker, Associated Bank; Lee Swindall, Vice President, Division of Business and Industry Development, WEDC; Seyoum Mengesha, Manager of Minority Business Development, WEDC.