Jeramey Jannene

Brew City Match Offers More Grants

Fourth round of grants for small business development and commercial property revitalization.

By - Nov 3rd, 2021 04:46 pm
Buildings on N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Buildings on N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

LISC Milwaukee is looking for entrepreneurs and building owners in need of financial or technical support. Its Brew City Match program is again accepting applicants for its fourth round of grant awards.

The program, backed by a $3.5 million grant from Chase, is focused on small business development and commercial property revitalization in the city’s historic commercial corridors.

Brew City Match is about supporting entrepreneurs while creating vibrant commercial corridors to build a more inclusive local economy” said LSIC program officer Celia Benton in a statement. “We look forward to supporting former winners and meeting the next round of applicants.”

The program match is returning to its original focus after it pivoted early in the COVID-19 pandemic to support struggling small businesses.

Part of that original focus is pairing brick-and-mortar businesses with rehabilitated commercial space. The organization has funded property renovations in such commercial corridors as Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cesar Chavez Drive, N. 27th Street, W. North Avenue and W. Fond du Lac Avenue.

Applications for the next round of funding are due Dec 1. An online information session is scheduled for Nov. 9 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Most of the past business winners have been startups led overwhelmingly by people of color. The organization, according to a press release, has provided more than 100 entrepreneurs with technical assistance, allocated $110,000 in small business grants and $600,000 in property improvement grants that were leveraged to yield $2.3 million in investments.

A number of applicants have secured funding in multiple rounds, moving from business planning to business development. Cetonia Weston-Roy‘s Niche Book Bar is one such example. She launched it as a mobile book store and is now poised to transform it into a combined wine bar and book store.

Weston-Roy received Business Planning Track support in the first cohort and completed a business-planning course through Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) in fall 2019. In July 2020 she was announced as a Space Track winner and in Dec. 2020 as a Cash Track winner. In Aug. 2021 she was announced by the Department of City Development as the winning application to purchase and redevelop a building on King Drive.

Two other past participants praised the program in Brew City Match’s press release.

“Honestly, we would not have come this far without the knowledge gained in WWBIC’s 10-week Brew City Match business course,” said Fit4YouMKE Marketplace owner Robert Brox, a 2019 winner. “As a growing company we can directly attribute some of our best business practices learned in a classroom setting with 20-30 motivated small business owners.”

“As a Brew City Match participant, I was able to take part in Start, Run, & Grow, an eight-week program that taught me how to build, manage and operate a business,” said Doris Jones, owner of D’VAXVA’s Portable Parties and a 2019 winner. “It was an incredible experience, the information I learned will help long into the future. I also met and networked with other entrepreneurs, which has been priceless.”

LISC’s program partners include WWBIC, the City of Milwaukee, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Legacy Redevelopment Corporation, the Greater Milwaukee Committeee, Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation, the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, Riverworks Development Corporation and the business improvement districts in the target areas.

Past Coverage

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