Millions of dollars now available for entrepreneurs to start businesses in 3 Milwaukee corridors

MILWAUKEE --  Millions of dollars were made available for entrepreneurs to start businesses in three Milwaukee corridors, Mayor Tom Barrett announced Monday, June 3. Applications will be accepted beginning June 10 for Brew City Match, an initiative focused on catalyzing small business growth in neighborhoods surrounding downtown Milwaukee -- offering small business loans and technical support.

Take a walk along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee and you'll pass quite a few empty storefronts.

Brew City Match

"This was a very thriving business district in the 70s and 80s, and something happened that caused it to leave. I'm delighted to see us attempting to bring it back," said George Gary, Columbia Savings & Loan president.

Inside one of those storefronts Monday were partners looking to fuel new businesses during the official launch of Brew City Match.

"We provide funding that matches the city's funding, and we also make low-cost loans available through our five partners," said Donsia Strong Hill, LISC executive director.

The program was made possible by a $3.5 million grant from JPMorgan Chase. The program was launched within the Historic King Drive, North Avenue and Fond du Lac, and Cesar Chavez Drive corridors, providing a mix of loans, grants, and business support to assist small business owners start or expand their businesses -- with a goal of revitalizing one million square feet of commercial space by providing funds to up to 45 businesses.

“Small businesses are going to play an integral role in the revitalization of Milwaukee’s historic commercial corridors,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

"These neighborhoods have been starved for attention, and we're really happy to be able to collaborate and make this happen in a targeted way," said Hill.