Near West Side Partners, Inc.
Press Release

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

Finalists will begin preparations for live-pitch event on September 24

By - Aug 5th, 2019 09:35 am

MILWAUKEE – Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP) today announced five finalists selected as part of the fourth 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 residents and employees in the Near West Side.

“The Near West Side has long been home to incredible start-ups – companies that started small and are now the iconic brands we know as 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 there continue to be motivated small business owners in the Near West Side. We are excited to hear the pitches at the fourth 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 support as they prepare for the live-pitch event in September when the winner will be selected.

“The Near West Side is ready to welcome another generation of entrepreneurs to our growing neighborhood, bringing new jobs and vibrancy to our commercial corridors,” said Stanley. “So far, past winners have showed their commitment to the Near West Side by opening new storefronts and hiring employees who are also residents of our community.”

“Marquette’s innovation team is proud to be working with Near West Side Partners, Harley-Davidson and WaterStone Bank to support these up-and-coming entrepreneurs,” said Kelsey Otero, associate director at Marquette University and project lead for the Rev-Up MKE competition. “It is a privilege to provide mentorship and support to the budding business owners who will soon present their business ideas to Rev-Up MKE judges and members of the Near West Side community.”


The five selected finalists include:

Drift LLC | Rachel Hawken

Drift is a New Zealand style food and beverage business that serves savory hand-pies, desserts, salads, and offers a full service espresso bar.

A Goodman’s Desserts | Alan Goodman

A Goodman’s Desserts creates scratch-baked desserts, including their signature bread pudding, butter cookies and lemon pound cake, all baked to perfection.

INPOWER | Aziz Abdulah, Asada Njuguna, Emani Taylor & Raven Washington

By leveraging a global network of freelancers and gig providers the company helps with all your outsourcing needs, especially when it comes to logo & branding, graphic design, writing, and marketing.

Esure Transit LLC | Emonie Patton

Esure Transit is a non-emergency medical transportation company that offers rides to help improve patient access to care.

The Farmer’s Kitchen | Tabatha and Justin De Leon

A charming, affordable, and healthy farm to table diner that specializes in breakfast and lunch. Food will be sourced directly from their own farm for a unique dining experience.


The program will culminate with a “Live Pitch Event” on September 24, 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, talent management coaching, payroll services for a year, free legal audit and communication support); and
  • Advertising and recognition from Near West Side Partners.

Updates to this year’s program include:

  • Increased mentoring support from the Near West Side anchor institutions; and
  • Engagement opportunities with Near West Side stakeholders and local government officials.

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

“We are excited to begin this next phase of the competition – working with each of these five 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 continued 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 – Advocate Aurora, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp.


NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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