Near West Side Partners launches ‘Shark Tank-style’ business competition

Winner to receive $10,000 cash, $25,000 of in-kind services

Near West Side Partners Executive Director Keith Stanley speaks at Aurora Sinai Medical Center on Tuesday, March 23.

A new competition launched by Near West Side Partners Inc. this year will allow entrepreneurs to pitch an idea for a west side storefront, with a chance to win $10,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of in-kind services.

Near West Side Partners Executive Director Keith Stanley speaks at Aurora Sinai Medical Center on Tuesday, March 23.
Near West Side Partners executive director Keith Stanley.

The competition, called Rev-Up MKE, is modeled after the reality TV show “Shark Tank” and was created to revitalize commercial corridors on Milwaukee’s near west side.

In-kind services include architectural services, support on rent payments, business consulting, a free legal audit and communication support.

“It’s National Small Business Week, and with Rev-Up MKE, the near west side is open for business,” said Keith Stanley, executive director of Near West Side Partners. “We are excited to promote this competition, which is another great example of what can be accomplished through collaboration.”

Near West Side Partners is a nonprofit led by representatives from Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Marquette University, MillerCoors LLC and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The area it serves includes the Avenues West, Cold Spring Park, Concordia, Martin Drive, Merrill Park, Miller Valley and Piggsville neighborhoods.

“The Near West Side has been home to some of Milwaukee’s greatest entrepreneurs – from William Harley and Arthur Davidson to Fredrick Miller,” said Paul Jones, vice president of strategy and sustainability at Harley-Davidson. “We are proud to be working with such great partners to find the next generation of entrepreneurs in the near west side.”

Near West Side Partners will accept applications from entrepreneurs and business owners interested in participating until 5 p.m. on June 28. A panel of judges will review the applications and announce finalists at an unspecified date in July.

The competition will end in September with a live pitch event at The Rave, during which finalists will present their ideas before a panel of judges. The winner will be announced that night.

Applications are available online and also at the Near West Side Partners office at 624 N. 24th Street.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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