Near West Side Partners, Inc.
Press Release

Near West Side Partners Announces 2nd Annual Rev-Up MKE

Applications are open for the “Shark Tank”-style small business competition that identifies next generation entrepreneurs

By - Jun 7th, 2017 11:52 am

MILWAUKEE – Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP), along with representatives from Harley-Davidson and Marquette University announced that applications are open for the 2nd annual Rev-Up MKE – a “shark tank”-style business competition with the goal of revitalizing commercial corridors in the Near West Side. The program will again provide an opportunity for startup entrepreneurs to expand or start a business in the Near West Side and receive the support it needs to make it a success.

“The Near West Side is thrilled to welcome another generation of entrepreneurs to our growing neighborhood,” said Keith Stanley, Executive Director of NWSP. “We are excited to see continued interest from startups, organizations and businesses seeking to invest in Milwaukee, and bring new jobs and vibrancy to our commercial corridor.”

NWSP is committed to enhancing the key commercial corridors in its neighborhoods. Rev-Up MKE meets a critical need by helping identify and support local businesses that can relocate or open in the Near West Side and bring new services to area residents and employees.

Pete’s Pops – a local company offering unique fresh fruit and cream popsicles and winner of the inaugural Rev-Up MKE competition – is currently partnering with another Near West Side organization, Milwaukee Center For Independence, to utilize their commercial kitchen. He recently unveiled Pete’s Pops’ new “Near West Side” popsicle flavor. A portion of each sale this summer will be donated to support the work of Near West Side Partners.

The new Near West Side flavor will be available at area events, including the “Wednesdays at the Shell” in Washington Park, as well as at planned events at anchor institutions and throughout the City. Keep up with Pete and learn more at

“Since being named winner of the inaugural Rev-Up MKE competition, I received tremendous encouragement and support from the many residents and businesses in the Near West Side,” said Pete Cooney. “I am excited to help celebrate and support this great place in Milwaukee with our newest ‘Pop’ creation.”

“The Near West Side has been home to some of Milwaukee’s greatest entrepreneurs – from William Harley and Arthur Davidson to Frederick Miller,” said Paul Jones, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary 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.”

Similar to last year, the program will culminate with a “Live Pitch Event” on September xx, 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, small business consulting, free legal audit and communication support); and
  • Advertising and recognition from Near West Side Partners.

 Updates to this year’s program include:

  • A free, pre-training “Business Boot Camp” that will be offered prior to the Rev-Up MKE application due date. Training is available to Near West Side residents and will last for six weeks.
  • Unparalleled mentorship and support from Near West Side anchor institutions. Each finalist will be matched with one corporate partner for deep 1:1 mentorship and resource support.

“We are thrilled to be a partner in this unique program for the second year in a row,” said Doug Gordon President and CEO of WaterStone Bank. “As an active small business lender in Milwaukee, we understand the need for new business formation and entrepreneurship to grow and develop our communities.” WaterStone Bank will provide 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 and the free, boot camp, allows us to get our students, staff, and faculty involved in this community effort,” said Kelsey Otero, Associate Director at Marquette University and project lead for the Rev-Up MKE competition.

Applications are available on the NWSP website here, as well as at the Near West Side Partners’ office, located at 624 N. 24th St. Applications close on July 10 at 5 p.m. Upon review by a panel of judges, finalists will be informed and announced in late July.


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.

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