SBA-backed loan use grows

MILWAUKEE — Fledgling Wisconsin companies used almost twice as much in loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration during the 2018 fiscal year compared to the prior year.

Wisconsin startups received $389 million in financial assistance to buy land, equipment, fixed assets or working capital, plus $1.2 million in microloans through SBA programs in the recently completed fiscal year, according to a news release from the government agency.

The same programs awarded $208 million and $1 million, respectively, to Wisconsin companies during fiscal year 2017.

Eric Ness, the SBA’s Wisconsin district director said one of the agency’s top goals is to get more capital into the hands of entrepreneurs who would otherwise not be able to get loans at reasonable interest rates.

“Our dramatically increased support for startups this year shows that we are accomplishing that objective, helping Badger State small businesses start and grow,” he said in the news release.

Nominees sought for awards

HUDSON — The St. Croix Economic Development Corp. is seeking nominations for its businesses of the year awards.

People may nominate for-profit companies in St. Croix County that work in the fields of manufacturing, distribution, construction, health care or service providers for fellow businesses.

The awards will recognize an emerging business that has been in the county for less than five years, a small business with 29 or less employees and a large business with 30 workers or more.

Nominations are due by Dec. 14. Winners will be announced in January and honored at a Feb. 21 banquet in New Richmond.

For nomination criteria and forms, go online to​yb8nwt2z or call 715-381-4383.

Short Takes

• An e-commerce company announced last week that it is hiring 305 workers at its Eau Claire call center to handle the busy holiday shopping season out of the 3,500 it is hiring nationwide. Radial, which employs 1,240 regular, full-time workers at its five customer care centers across the U.S., handles online sales and customer support for hundreds of retailers and brands, including Adidas, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Levi’s, Sony and The Shopping Channel.

From staff reports