Near West Side Partners, Inc.
Press Release

“Rev-Up MKE” Finalists Compete to Bring New Business to the Near West Side

Finalists will begin preparations for live-pitch event on September 25

By - Aug 8th, 2018 09:18 am

MILWAUKEE – Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP) today announced seven finalists selected as part of the third annual Rev-Up MKE small business competition. The program’s goal is to provide an opportunity for the winner – and as many finalists as possible – to expand or start a business in the Near West Side and receive the support it needs to be successful. This announcement brings NWSP closer to providing even more services to area residents and employees in the Near West Side.

“The Near West Side is home to some of the world’s greatest start-ups – companies that are now iconic brands like Harley-Davidson and MillerCoors,” said Keith Stanley, Executive Director of NWSP. “Based on the great ideas and high-quality applications we received again this year, it is clear that entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in the Near West Side. We are excited to hear the pitches at the third annual Rev-Up MKE competition.”

The panel of judges selected finalists based on the strength of the applications and the quality of the business ideas. Each finalist will receive significant business training and consulting support as they prepare for the live-pitch event in September when the winner will be selected.

“It is our hope that many of these businesses will find success in the Near West Side, bringing new jobs and new vibrancy to our commercial corridors,” said Stanley. “So far, past winners have showed their commitment to the Near West Side by hiring and retaining employees who are also residents of our community.”


The seven selected finalists include:

BarbHER-Shop | Lakendra Brooks, Lashawna Thomas

A mobile salon shop that will be offering services such as haircuts, massages, scalp treatments, and free neck trims in between haircuts.

Community Kitchen | Alex Anderson

Provides an anchor kitchen where food trucks and food carts can prep, store and cook their goods. This will also provide a permanent location for food trucks and food carts to offer their products to the public all year round.

Gearhead Fashion | Paula Hare

A fashion brand that provides one-of-a-kind hand-painted and designed fashion pieces made from curated garments, vintage fabrics, fur and leather.

KalyANa Organics | Susie Roberts

KalyANa Organics offers organic, gluten-free baked goods and take home packaged mixes for those who prefer to bake at home. All products are made using organic flour, non-fumigated almond flour, and other locally-sourced wholesome ingredients.

Razed & Found | Travis Blomberg

A new division of previous Rev-Up MKE finalist WasteCap Resource Solutions Inc., Razed & Found offers a DIY makerspace that will allow for the creation of new products and reclaimed materials. The space will also be used to host events, classes, programs, and instructional opportunities for the Near West Side and greater Milwaukee communities.

Triciclo Perú MKE | Amy Narr, Mario Diaz Herrera

Triciclo Perú offers a taste of Peruvian culture and cuisine through their authentic Peruvian empanadas, made from scratch and baked fresh daily.

Worldview Art Center | Erik Eide

Worldview Art Center will provide a space for artists to showcase their work and promote artistic education through seminars and workshops.


The program will culminate with a “Live Pitch Event” on September 25, 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:

  • The 707 Hub at Marquette University providing 1:1 mentorship for all finalists; and
  • Anchors having the opportunity to participate in the pitch practice session with the finalists before the big day.

Additional details about the finalists and the live-pitch event are available on the NWSP website here.

“We are excited to begin the next phase of the competition – working with each of these seven finalists to help refine their business model and prepare for the live-pitch event,” said Stanley. “We hope that the support from this process, as well as the resources provided to the final winner, will become a catalyst for renewed entrepreneurial endeavors in the Near West Side.”


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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