Pete's Pops, a Milwaukee company that sells fruit and cream popsicles called paletas with unique flavor combinations, has won the first Rev-Up MKE small business competition.
[caption id="attachment_150789" align="alignright" width="300"] Pete Cooney, center, was the winner of the first Near West Side Parnters Rev-Up MKE startup competition.[/caption]
Rev-Up MKE is a Shark Tank-style live pitch competition hosted by Near West Side Partners for small businesses hoping to move into an empty storefront on Milwaukee's near west side.
At the competition, which took place at The Rave on Tuesday, a group of eight business owners and entrepreneurs pitched their business plans to a panel of judges for a chance to win $10,000 in cash and $25,000 in in-kind services to support their business.
Pete's Pops, owned by local entrepreneur Pete Cooney, won first prize.
“I can't wait to get to work on moving my business into the Near West Side,” Cooney said in a statement released Wednesday. “And I'm thankful to the Near West Side Partners for putting together this great Rev Up MKE competition."
The runner up, a company called Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, received $4,000 and an additional $1,000 for winning the competition's "WaterStone Audience Choice" award.
“Pete’s Pops will now join the ranks of some of the world’s greatest start-ups located in the Near West Side – startups that are now recognized iconic brands like Harley-Davidson and MillerCoors,” said Keith Stanley, executive director of NWSP. “We’re excited Pete Cooney will bring more than just unique flavored popsicles to area residents and employees in our neighborhood of neighborhoods.”
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.
“We feel Pete’s Pops is a great example of the renewed entrepreneurial endeavors taking place in the central part of our city,” said Doug Gordon, CEO of WaterStone Bank, which contributed prize money for the competition. “We are hoping many more business owners find success here, bringing new jobs and new vibrancy to the commercial corridors of the Near West Side.”