Update on $2 million GROW Fund

The $2 million Generating Resources and Opportunity in Waukesha County (GROW) Fund was created by the Waukesha County Center for Growth this year to give businesses access to financial resources, while allowing contributing banks to meet federal lending guidelines.

The GROW Fund is a revolving loan fund with two core purposes – the first is to support businesses with the capital they need to grow, and the second is to develop residential housing to meet workforce needs. The fund also provides federal Community Reinvestment Act credits to banks that contribute to the fund, to help meet community credit needs for economic development.

Since its inception, one more bank has signed on to support the fund. BMO Harris Bank has joined Town Bank, First Bank Financial Centre and Johnson Financial Group.

Agreements are going through a final review process to establish the fund’s procedures and provide the first round of commitments. The Center for Growth is working with eight manufacturers in various phases of expansion plans, all of which are prospects for the GROW Fund. Several have begun the application process.

In addition, the Center for Growth and Waukesha County have met with several housing developers that are pursuing workforce housing opportunities in Waukesha County.

Loan decisions are guided by a collaborative loan fund committee made up of individuals representing stakeholder interests and who have special expertise and knowledge of commercial lending, economic development processes and workforce housing development lending.

The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), a community development financial institution based in Milwaukee, will manage the fund. They are the partner in loan underwriting, packaging, servicing and reporting. MEDC has overseen loans for business expansion in the region for many years.

Businesses that want to access the GROW Fund should contact the Waukesha County Center for Growth.