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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Marks 50th Anniversary of Small Business Week by Honoring Wisconsin Small Business Award Winners

Washington D.C. –U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who was recognized this week as a “Hero of Main Street” by the National Retail Federation, marked National Small Business Week by applauding the work of Wisconsin entrepreneurs and small business owners, and recognizing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) award winners from the Badger State.

“Wisconsin’s small businesses are the engines of our local economies,” said Senator Baldwin. “It’s critical that we provide them the support and tools they need to grow our economy and create the good paying jobs Wisconsin needs right now.”

Today, in Washington, DC, SBA will honor the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) of Milwaukee with the national Women’s Business Center Service Excellence Award. With four Women’s Business Center locations in the state, WWBIC supports entrepreneurship for women and men alike, helping them to start, grow, and sustain businesses. Beginning in late 2011, they piloted a highly successful Job Corps youth entrepreneurship program which has become a national model. WWBIC has been a state award winner several times and received the SBA’s Midwest regional award in this category in 2011 and 2012. Among its many achievements, WWBIC assisted 397 startup businesses in 2012. In their capacity as a micro-lender, they provided 126 direct loans totaling $3.5 million to business clients, with loan clients each creating 2.7 jobs and retaining 5.8 jobs on average. WWBIC and its President and Chief Visionary Officer Wendy Baumann are active locally, regionally, nationally and internationally in advancing their mission. 

In addition, the Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation(WBD) of Monona will receive the award for large CDCs (Certified Development Companies) over $50 million. WBD has been instrumental in training Wisconsin lenders on working with small businesses and has shown national leadership in helping businesses reduce their costs through use of a temporary SBA 504 refinancing program. WBD’s President and CEO Joseph Wolfe is the former Board Chair of National Association of Development Companies (NADCO). Dan Schneider, WBD’s Executive Vice President, will also be recognized as SBA Wisconsin’s 2013 Financial Services Champion. 

And yesterday, three Wisconsin businesses were honored with SBA 2013 Region V Small Business Awards.  Gene, Chris and Deborah Anguil of Anguil Environmental Systems, Inc. in Milwaukee received the Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Small Business Award for skillfully transitioning their pollution control business from first generation to second generation management.  Carl Bogar, owner of Historic Military Impressions in Kenosha, was awarded the Home Based Business Champion award. Bogar’s business was developed to foster the understanding and appreciation of those who served in the military. In 2009, he was selected as the SBA Veterans Business Champion.  And Seyoum Mengeshm was recognized with a Minority Small Business Champion award for his work to strengthen businesses in underserved communities.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. In addition, small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. There are nearly 28 million small businesses across the United States. Wisconsin is home to 430,000 small businesses, which employ 52 percent of the private sector workforce (1.2 million people in 2010).

This week, the National Retail Federation recognized Senator Baldwin as a ‘Hero of Main Street’ for her support of the American retail industry, the nation’s largest private sector employer. Baldwin was also honored for her support of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which levels the playing field for Wisconsin small businesses and allow local brick-and-mortar retailers to compete more effectively against out-of-state Internet sellers.

Senator Baldwin also supported a bipartisan resolution, introduced Monday in the U.S Senate, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of National Small Business Week and recognize small businesses as the driving force behind our economic recovery in America.