Jeramey Jannene

Brew City Match Aims To Boost More Than 20 Businesses

Program is focused on supporting business and property owners in Milwaukee's historic commercial areas.

By - Jun 22nd, 2023 05:05 pm
Site of Cream City Social Eatery, 432 E. Center St. Photo taken April 16, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of Cream City Social Eatery, 432 E. Center St., a past Brew City Match program participant. Photo taken April 16, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

There’s a whole new class of new and existing small businesses that LISC Milwaukee is working to grow.

The nonprofit organization revamped its Brew City Match program, targeted at growing minority-owned businesses in the city’s historic commercial corridors and announced a new cohort of awardees Wednesday.

More than 20 awardees will receive business coaching, mentorship and up to $100,0000 in financial support, which can be used on marketing, construction, preconstruction, inventory equipment and up to three months of lease payments.

The program, initially launched in 2019, previously included a series of different award categories targeted at businesses and property owners in different stages of their evolution. A handful of applicants progressed from one phase to the next. The new formula offers substantially more financial support and eliminates the different levels in favor of a more flexible approach.

“We are being real intentional to ensure the success of our entrepreneurs,” said program manager Travis Spell in an interview Wednesday.

“There is so much opportunity in Milwaukee, and it’s exciting to be able to watch these talented entrepreneurs grow their businesses and help catalyze opportunities for neighborhoods to thrive,” said Theodore Lipscomb, Sr., executive director of LISC Milwaukee, in a statement. “We are proud of all of our Match Day recipients, and we are more committed than ever to supporting their success.”

The program has already resulted in $1.16 million in grants going to 68 businesses. LISC reports those funds have resulted in 250 new jobs and 54 commercial properties being improved, all in historically underserved areas. In 2020, LISC pivoted the program temporarily to supporting businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brew City Match works by partnering with business improvement districts (BIDs). Current partners include the Historic King Drive, North Avenue Marketplace, Near West Side, Cesar Chavez Drive, Historic Mitchell Street and Riverworks BIDs.

The program was initially funded by a $3.5 million grant from JPMorgan Chase. The program was also bolstered last year by a $5.2 million American Rescue Plan Act grant from Governor Tony Evers.

Applications for the next round of funding will open July 17. Approximately $3.5 million is anticipated to be awarded in the next several years.

The Match Day event was held at Cream City Social Eatery, 432 E. Center St. Business and building co-owner Diamond Campbell is a program alumnus. Three other past BCM participants, Angela Mallett of HoneyBee Sage Apothecary & Herbal Beverage Lounge, Taj Pearsall of Buffalo Boss and Marcia Taylor of Lush Gourmet Popcorn participated in a panel with Campbell.

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Categories: Business, Real Estate

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