Business hopefuls who participate in the upcoming business incubator at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus will receive plenty of new business benefits – all free of charge. All they need to do is fill out a business questionnaire online at www.StAnnCenter.org/biz. The first 20 applicants with legitimate applications will be accepted (There are currently 13 spots still available.).
The Business Incubator will be held Thurs., Dec. 8 at the Bucyrus Campus, 2450 W. North Ave. It will provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch a business plan to investors and to learn real-life lessons from a panel of successful north-side entrepreneurs. In addition, three marketing experts will provide tips on effectively branding your business.
“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 resources and advice to people looking to expand or start their own business in the 53205 and 53206 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 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 at www.StAnnCenter.org/biz explaining their business ideas. Small business professionals will review the submissions and choose 20 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.”
Three sets of panelists will provide expert guidance:
1.) A Resource Panel with representatives from Kiva.org; UWM Small Business Development Center; and Seaway Bank.
2.) A Branding Panel with representatives from three marketing companies – Tammy Belton-Davis of Athena Communications; Kelly Lonergan of Honey Baked Design; and Ebony Ssali of Ssali Media Group.
3.) A Practitioner Panel with small business owners from the neighborhood giving their advice on how to be successful – Larry Adams of Innovation & Wellness Commons; John’Rae Stowers of JazzyRae’ Jewels & Accessories; Ebony Ssali of Ssali Media Group; and Maanaan Sabir or The Juice Kitchen (invited).
Feedback from participants in the first incubator has been very 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 must be completed online at stanncenter.org/biz. Questionnaires should be submitted no later than Friday, Dec. 2. If 20 legitimate applications are not received by that time, the deadline may be extended until the following Monday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.