Business hopefuls are invited to participate in a free business incubator set for Thursday, Dec. 8, 1 to 4 p.m. at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus, 2450 W. North Avenue. Thanks to the success of the first incubator, held this past June, the event has expanded—giving 25 entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of economic development experts.
“Building from Within” is the theme of the session aimed at jump-starting resident-owned businesses on Milwaukee’s North Side. Planned by Ald. Russell W. Stamper II, St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care and the North Avenue Marketplace Business Improvement District (BID) 32, the incubator is designed to provide investment resources and advice to people looking to expand or start their own business in the 15th Aldermanic District (53205, 53206, 53208, 53210 and 53212 ZIP codes).
“There’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit in this neighborhood—and some very impressive business ideas,” says Sr. Edna Lonergan, president of St. Ann Center, a day care for both children and adults, that opened its Bucyrus Campus in the 15th District a year ago. “We’re excited to be able to offer a second incubator and strengthen the economic health of this talented neighborhood.”
Residents from the 15th District interested in presenting are required to complete a brief questionnaire explaining their business ideas. Small business professionals will review the submissions and choose 25 aspiring entrepreneurs with the most viable business ideas to attend the incubator session. Participants will have a chance to meet one-on-one with investors, talk about their business ideas, receive coaching on developing a business plan and possibly find backers for their venture.
“The result of the first incubator has some entrepreneurs well on their way to opening up their businesses,” says Ald. Stamper who has worked to find office space for them. “We have great momentum and growth in the 15th District with a lot of potential. We‘re expecting an even greater success with the second incubator. I want to thank St Ann Center, Bid 32, the investors and all the panelists for their continued support of this community.”
The incubator will begin with success stories from neighborhood business owners who will speak about their experiences with their own business startups. Investors, bankers and lawyers will also be on hand to discuss the services they can provide—from identifying funding resources to offering legal and marketing support. Guided tours of St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus will also be offered.
Feedback from participants in the first incubator has been positive. “I found it very encouraging to be in the midst of so many energetic, open-minded, well-grounded entrepreneurs,” said Hazel Hicks, who pitched her plan for a security business. “It was an afternoon abounding with solid business resources.”
Incubator questionnaires are being distributed to neighborhood businesses and churches throughout the 15th District. They are also available at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus and can be completed online at stanncenter.org/biz. Questionnaires must be submitted by Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Residents interested in the business incubator, as well as investors who would like to participate in networking and mentoring opportunities, can contact John Jansen with questions or for more information at (414) 977-5031 or email@example.com.