Economic Empowerment Wisconsin takes an informed and intentional approach to merge entrepreneur needs with funding, technical assistance, and other resources. The initiative ushers entrepreneurs of color through a needs-based approach to resource development, produced in partnership with MadREP, UW Extension, members of WARF and the Community Venture Consortium. Participants complete an application designed to distill their needs and barriers to success. After completing the intake application, Opportunity Inc. and member partners evaluate findings and conduct participant interviews, developing an individualized resource packet per the needs determined during initial evaluation.
These resource packets may range from simple sourcing activities to in depth strategic business planning and execution. Resources are provided by strategic partners dedicated to the mission of the EEWI.
Resource packets also include recommended funding (grant, loan or investment). These recommendations go to the appropriate grant, loan, or investments committees made of strategic partners that meet monthly for final approval. Granting processes will be facilitated through Madison Community Foundation. Loans will be managed and facilitated by Madison Development Corporation in partnership with Nehemiah. Investments will be vetted and managed by a qualified, diverse committee in partnership with the Badger Fund of Fund’s Opportunity Fund. After participants finish this process, O.I. member partners remain as mentors conducting evaluations at least every three months to assess progress for up to one year after completion. Participants are encouraged to pursue the other tracks of funding and eventually join the Society for Economic Empowerment to support EEWI once they’re in a place to do so. Investment and Loan proceeds also support the continuation of the fund.