City of Milwaukee helps entrepreneurs launch their business

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee held its inaugural "Entrepreneurship Summit, " at the Milwaukee Math and Science Academy Saturday. Organizers hope the summit will connect people in the business world with each other, along with helping boost the local economy.

The summit featured a series of guest speakers and workshops Saturday morning. Sophia Underwood attended Saturday's summit, and says she's on a mission trying to get her foot in the door in the graphic design field. "I love graphic design. I wake up with my computer in my bed quite a bit, doing designs. That's my dream, to open up my own graphic design agency," Underwood said.

Saturday's event was a chance to connect people with resources and a network of other entrepreneurs. "Like everyone knows, you could have a great idea, and no money to fund that idea," Milwaukee Alderwoman Milele Coggs said.

One of the things the summit teaches is that some tools are available to help with marketing ideas for free! If entrepreneurs aren't taking advantage of things like the internet, they're going to be behind in the game.

Luc Monsanto, the owner of SP Design says adapting is another key to success for entrepreneurs. "Social media is everything nowadays. Sometimes, we're designing things simply for media on Facebook or LinkedIN or Twitter -- not just the print collateral anymore. The entrepreneur is the do-it-yourselfer. They sometimes don't have any time to actually tap into these resources," Monsanto said.

One resource the city offers entrepreneurs is the RIF grant, or Retail Investment Fund grant - a grant worth thousands that helped Monsanto launch his business, and is now allowing him to hire more people. "There are some things available that can help us have some control over our businesses, and over our community," Monsanto said.

The city plans to make this summit an annual event, and hopes to launch more business-driven summits in the months to come.