As a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), we are excited to announce our expansion to 12 new counties in northern Wisconsin: Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Price, Oneida, Vilas, Florence, Forest, and Marinette. We are also expanding our services to five Native nations: Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
The Entrepreneur Fund is a mission-driven lender that provides loans, advising, programming and other resources to help small businesses start, stabilize, and expand. We believe that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we are committed to supporting them in any way we can.
Our expansion to northern Wisconsin is part of our ongoing mission to support the diversification of the rural regional economy. We believe that by providing access to capital and advising services, we can help small businesses create jobs and grow the economy in communities with great need and great potential.
As part of this expansion, partnering with existing organizations in northern Wisconsin, such as SBDCs, banks, county loan funds, and other EDA organizations is core to our mission and strategy. We believe that by working together, we can make a real difference in the lives of small business owners and the communities they serve. One strong relationship that has been established is with UW Superior Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“[EFund and SBDC] are able to work together and really look at the greater good of what is going to be beneficial for an entrepreneur to get them going and to make them successful from day one. We have great communication between organizations that enables us to share learnings with each other and leverage our different tools. Our partnership gives a small business owner a well rounded support team,” explains Andy Donahue, Director of the SBDC at UW-Superior.
Entrepreneur Fund’s Unique Role in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
EFund plays a unique role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are committed to helping small businesses find solutions and succeed. Our unique role is pairing both lending and advising services tailored to the specific needs of small businesses. The core pillars to our service model include:
- Business Advising: We provide one-on-one advising, custom roadmaps, and effective tools to help small businesses develop business plans, manage their finances, and work strategically on their business.
- Programming: We offer programming geared at strategic growth of businesses. Two primary programs we will offer in Wisconsin include “Be Strategic: Grow Your Business” a 6-week cohort-based class for working on your business rather than in the business. The other course is “Profit Mastery” to help participants improve their financial literacy and make better financial decisions for their businesses.
- Network Building: We connect small businesses with experts, other business owners and organizations that can help them succeed.
- Access to Capital: We provide flexible financing options ranging from microloans, gap financing, subordinated debt, and co-lending with other community lenders. One of our goals is to help clients become “bankable”.
Did you know?
One of our primary sources of referrals is from bankers and non-traditional lenders. Over 40% of our loans in 2022 came from referrals on deals that didn’t fit traditional financing models. Our model encourages clients to continue fostering their banking relationships and ultimately handing them back to their bank when they are ready.
How the Entrepreneur Fund Complements the Small Business Ecosystem
EFund is not a competitor to other service providers or lenders to small businesses. We believe that by working together, we can make a real difference in the lives of small business owners and the communities they serve and we are committed to finding ways to strengthen the resources and tools available to small businesses.
We are excited to partner with existing organizations in northern Wisconsin, such as SBDCs, banks, county loan funds, and other EDA organizations. Our work on building and fostering partnerships is primary to our strategy. We believe that by working together, we can:
- Reach more small businesses that need our help.
- Provide small businesses with a more comprehensive range of services that they need to succeed.
- Make a greater impact on the lives of small business owners and the communities they serve.
As an impact-driven organization, supporting entrepreneurs and fostering the continued growth and evolution of the ecosystem is vital to our work. If a loan from a bank or revolving loan fund is a better option for a client, we always put their needs first and will make the connections and referrals as necessary.
Expanding on Our Rural Roots
EFund was founded in 1989 in Virginia, Minnesota, by community leaders who were committed to diversifying the rural regional economy. They believed that by providing access to capital and other resources, they could help small businesses create jobs and grow the economy in underserved communities. EFund continues to be a valuable resource for small businesses in rural areas of northern Minnesota and will invest our resources and historical knowledge into rural communities across northern Wisconsin. EFund has a long history of success in helping small businesses succeed. Over the past 34 years, we have provided over $143,590,000 million in loans and other resources to small businesses in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our borrowers have grown our regional economy by creating over 20,000 jobs.
We are proud of our history of success, and we are excited to continue our mission of helping small businesses succeed in northern Wisconsin.
Connect with Us!
We want to connect with you, to learn more about our Wisconsin work or find out how we can partner please contact us through our website so that we can learn more about you and connect you to the team member that can best serve you.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-623-5747