Building bridges within communities

Building bridges within communities

In December, May Yer Thao, Executive Director, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC), met with Incourage leadership to share her organization’s history and the challenges and opportunities she encounters in her work.

The HWCC is a statewide organization that offers small business financing and technical assistance to all underserved minority communities with a special focus on Hmong and Southeast Asian communities.

May Yer sees herself and her team as bridge builders within communities. She takes a holistic approach to her work, including building trust and relationships, saying, “If we don’t learn to collaborate together, we are doing no service to the communities we serve.”

In October, May Yer was a panel member at Incourage’s Entrepreneurship Development Workshop. The event brought together local aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners and representatives from state and local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs offer financing and other technical assistance to small business owners who may not be able to access traditional bank lending resources. May Yer spoke about the HWCC’s role as a CDFI. She and other speakers provided information about the services and resources available to both local entrepreneurs and established small businesses who need both financing support, and expert guidance that helps them achieve small business success.

As Incourage works to meet our community’s changing needs, collaborating with May Yer and organizations like HWCC will help expand opportunities so that all individuals and our community can reach our full potential.