By Karen Stokes
Marshall Harley is an Uber driver that has ideas for his own business. Seeking resources for his business, Harley attended the North Side Business Incubator at St. Ann Center Bucyrus Campus, 2450 W. North Avenue to learn about financing options and branding his business.
Harley’s business idea, Green Source Juice Bar Cafe and Lounge is a healthy food cafe to be located in an area around north 35th street. The area at one time had plenty of grocery stores and healthy food options but is now a food desert.
“There’s no healthy food in that area at all, so having a place like Green Source Juice Bar Cafe and Lounge is needed in the neighborhood,” Harley said. “Having a place like this would not only beautify the neighborhood but it would be a place where community and business members can meet and enjoy the ambiance of an organic green atmosphere.”
The theme of the business incubator was “Building from Within,”. The incubator aims to encourage locally owned business start-ups in the 53206 and 53205 zip codes. The success of a similar incubator held in June led to the North Side Business Incubator Empowers Entrepreneurs to Make an Impact on the Community planning of this follow-up incubator.
Milwaukee Ald. Russell W. Stamper II sponsored the event at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care and Marketplace Business Improvement District (BID) 32. The incubator is designed to help jump start local businesses that can generate income for the 15th Aldermanic District.
The incubator offers a new and exciting way to aid entrepreneurs by having them come together to get resources to help stimulate the sort of business community the city of Milwaukee needs to thrive. Entrepreneurs we’re connected to professionals with financing options, branding and business advice from successful small business owners.
“I came here today because I was invited by Alderman Stamper,” said Harley.
Stamper along with facilitator John Jansen, Vice President of Grants, Community and Capital Development at St. Ann Center and a resource panel consisting of Barbara Markoff Small Business Advisor at KIVA. org, Rick Gorko, business development manager at UWM Small Business Development Center, Tracy Meeks, Senior Vice-President at Seaway Bank and Ranell Washington, banking professional at Town Bank listened to the prospective entrepreneurs and offered advice from what to include in a business plan to financing options.
“We want to hear your questions and concerns,” said Stamper to a room of prospective business owners. “I would love to be the alderman that helps you start your business. I would be honored to help you be a successful entrepreneur.”
Stamper complimented the group on their innovative and futuristic thinking after reviewing their proposals.
“I want you to get your dreams big. Dream anyway you want to dream,” Stamper said.
A few of the ideas that were presented included:
Charmaine Fowlkes pitched an idea for a winery producing small batch craft wines
Jamila Olivia Pugh is building a program called “You Can: Dream Abroad” which would enable high school students to travel internationally
Marvin Jones and his partner pitched an idea for a shared kitchen for food trucks, caterers and offer healthy cooking classes.
Harley and the other entrepreneurs took advantage of the expertise from the business and marketing professionals and spent time at the resource fair following the meeting for networking and to receive additional information and support to empower them to turn their ideas into successful businesses.