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La Crosse minority-owned business program likely more stable with federal money

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A different funding source could make a new, small business funding program in La Crosse more stable.

That’s the hope with a new shift in funding to federal block grants for the city’s new Minority Owned Business Assistance program.

It’s a program that’s already having an impact on the business community, Economic Development Planner Andrea Schnick said.

“What’s been most interesting about this program is really the open minds of communication that has developed between the city of La Crosse and the economic development program and other small businesses that are interested in emerging in the city that we hadn’t had contact with before,” Schnick said.

The program began this summer with funding from the city itself for grants of up to $5,000 for businesses majority owned by minorities or women.

The Economic Development Commission approved new guidelines for the minority business program.

Moving funding for the program from the city budget to a federal grant gives it stability Schnick said.

“What we’ve found through our research that both minorities and women tend to have more restricted access to capital when starting new businesses,” she said.

A majority of new small businesses and start-ups in the city of La Crosse come are owned by women or minorities.

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