“Shark-Tank”-style small business competition will identify next generation of entrepreneurs
MILWAUKEE – Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP), along with representatives from Harley-Davidson and Marquette University announced the launch of “Rev-Up MKE” – a “shark tank”-style business competition with the goal of revitalizing commercial corridors in the Near West Side. The program will provide an opportunity for start-up entrepreneurs to expand or start a business in the Near West Side and receive the support it needs to make it a success.
“It’s National Small Business Week, and with Rev-Up MKE, the Near West Side is open for business,” said Keith Stanley, Executive Director of Near West Side Partners, Inc. “We are excited to promote this competition which is another great example of what can be accomplished through collaboration.”
NWSP is committed to enhancing the key commercial corridors in its neighborhoods. “Rev-Up MKE” will meet a critical need by helping identify and support the next generation of entrepreneurs who can locate in the Near West Side and bring new services to area residents and employees.
“The Near West Side has been home to some of Milwaukee’s greatest entrepreneurs – from William Harley and Arthur Davidson to Fredrick Miller,” said Paul Jones, Vice President – Strategy & Sustainability of Harley Davidson. “We are proud to be working with such great partners to find the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Near West Side.”
As part of the competition, finalists will be given access to hands-on business training, technical assistance and mentorship from a number of organizations in Milwaukee, including: WWBIC, BizStarts, Marquette Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Harley-Davidson Young Professionals group. The program will culminate with a “Live Pitch Event” in September, hosted at the Rave/Eagle’s Ballroom where each finalist will present before a panel of judges. The winner – who will be announced that evening – will receive significant resources to support their new venture, which will be located in a Near West Side storefront, including:
- $10,000 cash gift
- $25,000 in in-kind services (architectural renderings, support on rent payments, small business consulting, free legal audit and communication support)
- Advertising and recognition from Near West Side Partners
“We are thrilled to be a partner in this unique program,” said Doug Gordon President and CEO of WaterStone Bank. “As an active small business lender in the Milwaukee, we understand the need of new business formation and entrepreneurship to grow and develop our communities.” WaterStone Bank is providing seed funds for the winning venture and sponsoring the Rev-Up MKE reception event.
“Marquette University is committed to bolstering innovation and entrepreneurship in Milwaukee and the Rev-Up MKE competition allows us to get our students, staff, and faculty involved in the effort which is in our own neighborhood,” said Jeanne Hossenlopp, Vice President of Research and Innovation.
Applications are available on the NWSP website here and are also available at the Near West Side Partners’ office, located at 624 N. 24th Street. Applications close on June 28 at 5:00 p.m. and upon review by a panel of judges, finalists will be informed and announced in July.
ABOUT NEAR WEST SIDE PARTNERS, INC.
Near West Side Partners, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor, through collaborative efforts to promote commercial corridor development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses. Near West Side Partners, Inc. is an organization of businesses and civic leaders from throughout the Near West Side, including the organization’s five anchor institutions – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp.