Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:22 pm
The ReNEW-Milwaukee (Rejuvenating the Northwest Side through Enhanced Use of the World Wide Web) project team has announced the 15 local companies that will participate in the next phase of the project.
Last fall, the project announced a $727,268 Technology Opportunities Program grant from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, to help the predominately small, minority-owned businesses in northwest Milwaukee tap into the opportunities presented by the Internet and Web technology.
The award was one of 74 Technology Opportunities Program grants (and the only award made in Wisconsin), totaling $42.8 million, which were awarded in 2001.
The ReNEW project has two partners: the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Business Administration’s Center for Technology Innovation (SBA-CTI), and the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (CDC).
Since October 2001, the partners have been setting up the project Web site and screening prospective participants. During the next year, the ReNEW-Milwaukee project will help these companies build their capacity, technology knowledge and marketability.
The following two years will be spent providing linkages with existing and new customers, reducing operating costs though efficient purchasing using an online cooperative, expanding the marketplace for a company’s products and services via the Internet, and providing access for participating companies to a customized training program related to the use and acquisition of technology resources.
Participating companies include Abernathy Consulting, Ltd.; Banks’ Funeral Home; Bernie’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning; Community Fitness Center; Cultural Connections Bookstore; Delta Southern Groceries; Diverse Ventures, Inc.; Fastech, Inc.; Food Services, Inc.; Jonco Industries, Inc.; Manutec; Milwaukee Lithographing Company, Inc.; Storck Ace Hardware; Super Sat Ventures, Inc.; and WGLB Radio.
According to UWM professor Dave Haseman, "additional benefits to the selected companies could include provision of hardware and/or software to assist in daily business operations, training to use business software tools, providing access to the Internet, establishing a business presence on the World Wide Web and online catalog for products and services, providing resources to support e-commerce and access to individual e-marketplaces, and furnishing online software agents to assist in purchasing and sales functions."
The project goal of establishing a Web presence for the 15 selected companies has been reached by the creation of a ReNEW-Milwaukee Web site: www.renewmilwaukee.org.
That Web site provides a forum for company linkages with a wider base of customers, as well as linkages with industry and/or company-specific suppliers. The Web site also includes an online marketplace, company contact information and updated ReNEW-Milwaukee project results. According to CDC deputy director Una Van Duvall, "to remain competitive in today’s marketplace, small companies on the northwest side of Milwaukee will utilize this assistance to take the next step, gaining market expansion and increased production capability or service delivery through technology-based solutions."
Howard Snyder, executive director of the Northwest Side CDC, says: "The Internet has opened up the marketplace worldwide, and small, predominately minority-owned and other businesses in northwest Milwaukee are falling victim to unforeseen technologically advanced global competition. This outside competition is eroding the markets for the products and services that these small businesses have been providing to the larger businesses in the area. Without access to e-business technology, northwest side businesses find it difficult to reach new markets."
Within a year, the ReNew-Milwaukee project will expand to include 20 additional Milwaukee-area businesses and provide additional technology-based resources for all participating companies.
Oct. 25, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee