By Eelisa Jones
The Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation (BSCDC) began accepting submissions for their 2015 business competition on June 1.
The opening of the competition’s open submission stage took place during Milwaukee Small Business Week – a city-wide effort to acknowledge and support small businesses.
The winner of the BSCDC competition will receive three months discounted lease on a 4500, 4504, or 4506 W. Burleigh St. store front, financial planning assistance including connections to grant and loan resources, free website construction, and other reduced price professional services.
The owner of the competition storefronts has recently begun location renovations, taking advantage of Milwaukee’s White Box matching grant program – a program that reimburses business owners for up to 75 percent of their improvement projects.
BSCDC offered several workshops throughout May to assist potential competitors and other residents in establishing their small businesses.
Current business owners, bank representatives, and members of the Hmong and African American Chambers of Commerce were among the May workshop presenters.
BSCDC Outreach Manager, Renée B. Lindner, said that many participants walked away with a greater understanding of the importance of research and networking with people already established in the specific industries that the hopeful entrepreneurs wished to join.
Although many individuals have already approached the BSCDC to inquire about this year’s competition, Linder said that organizers wanted to see even more questions and submissions.
To the entrepreneurial dreamers of Milwaukee, Linder said that this competition may act as an entryway to a successful business.
“Our big push now is to receive the submissions and to make a decision,” Lindner said. “Now is the time for them to take the next step.”
One competitor, Cassandra Flagg, said that she hopes to open a multicultural beauty store that focuses on natural hair care.
Now 46-years-old, the Milwaukee native said that she has wanted to run her own business since the ninth grade. Since childhood, beauty-related practices and beauty products have permeated her family interactions.
She mentioned passing on her aunt’s curlers and rollers to different relatives over time.
Flagg said that she has researched beauty supply stores throughout Milwaukee, speaking to current store owners as well as manufactures that are looking to network with beauty product vendors.
In order to learn more about the habits and desires of residents in the Burleigh Street area, Flagg said that she plans to perform a four-question area survey within the next two weeks.
Flagg said that she was particularly interested in becoming one of the few African American beauty store owners in the Milwaukee community.
“Ninety-five percent of [an average beauty supply store’s] income comes from the African American community, but hardly any of them are owned by African Americans,” Flagg said.
Flagg explained her intention to focus on natural hair care by noting that an increasing number of African American women are returning to natural hairstyles. She also mentioned her hope to provide a learning environment and purchasing resource for interracial couples who have children with special hair care needs.
Flagg learned of the BSCDC’s competition in mid-May
Readers who are interested in submitting their own business plans can visit the BSCDC office at 4506 W. Burleigh St., call at (414) 447-7070, or email Renée Lindner at rlindner@burleighstreet. org. The BSCDC will be accepting submissions until June 30.