Milky Way Tech Hub to offer $1K grant, launch resource for small businesses

Jet Constellations and its initiative, Milky Way Tech Hub, is offering a $1,000 grant to business owners with 50 employees or less who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Milwaukee-based organization will also launch a weekly webinar series in which small business owners can discuss both challenges and solutions to the local economic slowdown.

Jet Constellations’ Milky Way initiative is focused on transforming Milwaukee into a tech hub representing the city’s diverse population. But the organization also works to bridge the digital divide in the city by getting local business owners to consider how their company can become tech-enabled, said Nadiyah Johnson, Jet Constellations founder.

While the grant presents an opportunity for financial assistance, business owners will find just as much value through the application process, which poses a series of questions to get applicants thinking about how technology could add value to their business.

“Even if you’re not granted the $1,000, we’re posing questions that are important for the everyday business owner to consider around how they can enable technology in their business,” Johnson said.

Larger corporations have been quick to adapt to a remote workforce, but it is small businesses that have yet to make the transition that are hurting the most right now, said Johnson, who’s also a GE Healthcare engineer and technical project manager.

“So many companies either haven’t had the opportunity or haven’t had the exposure or even been asked the question,” Johnson said. “Because of that they’re in a position where they’re really struggling to figure out ‘now what?’”

Any small businesses that fit the criteria for the grant can apply. Small business owners who want to ask even the most basic of questions like the cost of building an app or having a website are encouraged to participate in the webinar, Johnson said.

The webinars will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Grant entries will be reviewed and selected by Milky Way Tech Hub official partners. The recipient of the grant will be notified and announced by April 10th

Click here for the grant application and here for the webinar. Any questions about the application or webinar can be directed to Nadiyah Johnson at Nadiyah@jetconstellations.com.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.