The Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce has officially arrived in Northeast Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee-based organization provides financial resources, consultation, networking events, workshops and other resources for businesses owned by traditionally marginalized people, and officially opened its Appleton office in a celebration yesterday. Both the Appleton office, 2631 N. Meade St, and a new Green Bay office, 2701 Larsen Rd, have been running since May.
“There’s a growing number of businesses and entrepreneurs in that area, more than ever now,” HWCC CEO Dr. Maysee Herr told Blueprint365 in an interview following the event. “It seemed like the right time to open up an office there. We’re leveraging this moment.”
The two Northeast Wisconsin offices are staffed by business development specialist Peng Sue Moua, an Appleton native.
The HWCC also has established satellite offices in Eau Claire and Wausau, also staffed by business development specialists from those cities.
“We haven’t had to transplant anybody yet,” Herr said.
Herr said opening those offices has provided more than just business support.
“The communities take great pride in knowing that there’s an office there for them,” she said. “There seemed to be such a sense of ownership and of us being in those communities. That was not something I had expected but it is quite heartwarming.”
Herr said the organization’s next step is to open a Madison office. They’re actively searching for a staff person and space.
Herr said HWCC was about 200 members, and has been adding more members on a daily basis in recent months. The number of members has never been a focus, though.
“Our emphasis in the past has never really been on membership,” she said. “We’ve always served anyone from our target populations who needs assistance.”