Expanding Loan Products & Development-Services Delivery through Collaborations & Resource Networks
Native-owned businesses and business startups in Wisconsin have a true ally in First American Capital Corp (FACC). As a certified Native CDFI and SBA Microlender, FACC is the sister organization of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (AICCW). The AICCW was formed in 1991 in response to a core group of American Indian business owners who started this 501(c)(3) as a nonprofit membership organization that could advocate, organize, network, deliver business development services and otherwise represent the needs and demands of business owners and entrepreneurs throughout Wisconsin.
In 2001 a group of Native American business owners and active members of AICCW began to investigate forming an alternative, direct business-lending program in response to access-to-capital barriers experienced by Native entrepreneurs when attempting to obtain start-up and expansion loans from banks in both urban areas as well as at reservation business locations.
Given the established working relationships of AICCW with state government program representatives, the AICCW was successful in obtaining seed capital – both revolving loan funds and operating capital – from the then Wisconsin Department of Commerce (survived by the current Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation). This initial AICCW Revolving Loan Fund organization was later split off from AICCW to form First American Capital Corporation, Inc. as a separate 501(c)(3). However, FACC retains a strategic relationship with AICCW to work in conjunction on the shared mission-driven focus of providing Native-owned businesses with access to capital, technical assistance, networking with essential business-development resources, and advocacy designed to build capacity and wealth in Wisconsin Indian business communities.
The FACC was first certified as a Native CDFI in 2004 and then in 2007 became the first Native SBA Microlender in Wisconsin. The FACC is fortunate to have a consistent, active, and engaged board of directors representing enrolled members of five different tribal nations – including some of the most successful Native business owners and tribal enterprise CEOs in Wisconsin. The FACC, like its sister organization, is not directly associated with any one tribe. This provides independence and objectivity in the delivery of our collective loan products and development services. Currently three employees allocate time between AICCW and FACC operations. FACC has about $3million in assets and is following a strategic growth plan that aims to reach $5million by 2019.
The AICCW and FACC Milwaukee County location not only facilitates representation of the significant percentage of American Indian-owned businesses located off reservations, but this urban location is close to the offices of local, state, and federal government program representatives and key corporate/funding organizations. The FACC has developed ready access and positive working relationships with essential business/economic development decision makers and resources in Wisconsin, leading to diverse funding partners including foundations, banks, city agencies, state agencies, tribal partners, and federal programs designed to provide financial assistance and development services support for intermediary lenders. Most recently FACC entered into a strategic collaboration with three of the largest certified non-Native CDFIs in the state – named Invest In Wisconsin – with initial funding provided by JP Morgan-Chase Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods program initiative.
Equally important is the broad local, state, tribal, federal business-development resources network in which FACC participates and assists in delivering to Wisconsin Indian Country entrepreneurs and Native business owners. Close working relationships advanced by FACC now include, for example, direct access to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) – DBE Support Services and the WisDOT Inter-Tribal Task Force (see: http://wisdottribaltaskforce.org/ ).
The most notable collaboration is the growing Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance (WIBA) which includes the four certified Native CDFIs in Wisconsin: First American Capital Corp, First Nations Community Financial, Northwood NiiJii Capital Partners and the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund. The WIBA strategic partners include the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council – Small Business Technical Assistance Program, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Working together as WIBA, it is now effectively delivering a continuum of development services and loan products throughout Wisconsin Indian Country – including both on and off federally recognized reservation community. See the following link for additional information: http://wisdottribaltaskforce.org/labor-business/native-owned-business-resources/
The mission of First American Capital Corporation (FACC) is to perform economic development activities that benefit Wisconsin’s Indian Country by increasing access to capital in the form of business loans, providing technical assistance services that strengthen the skills of Native entrepreneurs, and by advocating for Indian owned businesses to create new business opportunities — both on and off federally recognized reservations.
For additional information contact Craig Anderson, AICCW President/FACC Executive Director at email@example.com or 414.604.2044 and visit: http://www.faccloans.com/