2019 Timeline

June 13: Application Launches

July 22: Application Closes

July 30: Finalists Announced

July 30 - September 24: Mentoring with Anchor Institutions 

September 24: Live Pitch Event 

Save the Date

Rev-Up MKE Small Business Competition
Live Pitch Event

September 24, 2019
The Rave/Eagles Ballroom

The Rev-Up MKE small business competition will provide an opportunity for start-up entrepreneurs to expand or start a business and get the support needed to make it successful.

2019 Overview  

The Rev-Up MKE small business competition provides an opportunity for start-up entrepreneurs to expand or start a business and get the support needed to make it successful in the Near West Side. Past winners include: Pete’s Pops, Triciclo Peru MKE, Hands in Harmony, and KalyANa Organics.

As part of the competition, finalists will receive hands-on business training at Marquette University's 707 Hub in preparation for the live pitch event.  The winner – who will be announced after the live pitches on September 24 – will receive significant resources to support their new venture, which will be located in a Near West Side storefront.

We are pleased to announce that the Rev-Up MKE small business competition is back for the fourth time! As part of the competition, finalists will receive hands-on business training from the local Near West Side anchor organizations in preparation for the live pitch event. Additionally, the winner - who will be announced after the live pitches on September 24 - will receive significant resources to support their new venture, which will be located in a Near West Side storefront.

The Near West Side is open for business!

On Tuesday, September 24, hear from the finalists, cast your vote for the audience choice winner and enjoy a taste of the Near West Side by sampling food from neighborhood restaurants.

The winner will be announced that evening.

5:00 pm – Doors Open
5:45 pm – Pitches Start
7:45 pm – Reception and Celebration
8:15 (approximately) – Winner Announced

 

Award for the Grand Prize Winner

  • 1ST place will receive $10,000 start up business funding from WaterStone Bank

  • Plus over $25,000 in-kind services (architectural renderings, small business consulting, free legal audit and possible representation, communication support)

  • One-year of computer power, storage space and internet bandwidth to house mission-critical applications on a private server, courtesy of Potawatomi Business Development Corporation, Stack41 and Data Holdings

  • Advertising and recognition from Near West Side Partners

  • 2nd place winner will receive $4,000 cash and other in-kind services as needed

  • Audience choice winner will receive $1,000 cash prize

Judging Criteria

  • Product/Service: clearly defined solution, fulfills a customer need, has a resonance and desirability, changes or significantly improves an existing process or fills a gap in current Near West Side offerings.

  • Markets & Competition: clearly identified customer, size of customer base, scalability in both geography and reach, in-depth competitive analysis. 

  • Management Team: relative domain and industry experience, business track record, education, etc. 

  • Implementation & Financials: clearly defined vision and objectives, roadmap for implementation, and perceived strategic advantage. Business will be viable.

  • Need and Impact: what effect will the award funding have, how will it be used to help develop the neighborhood, and a desire to locate and operate in the Near West Side.

Selection Process

The Near West Side will review applications and select finalists for the competition by the first week of August. 

COMPETITION

Finalists will participate in training, support and mentoring program leading up to the live event. This is intended to help finalists get the business support necessary to be successful and prepare for the pitch.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOR FINALISTS AND WINNERS

  • All selected finalists must attend workshops and mentorship meetings prior to the live pitch event.

  • Finalists must be present and present at the live pitch date.

  • Winners will be named on the night of the live pitch event; checks will be mailed to winners within a few weeks following the live pitch event.

  • Near West Side Partners and Rev-Up MKE organizers will work with businesses to identify a proper storefront space for the business following the live pitch event. The first place winner must take active steps toward identifying a space in the year following the competition.

  • If the first place winner does not move into a space in the Near West Side, the prize money must be returned.

Eligible Participants

  • Must be 18 years or older

  • Participants must be actively involved in the business that is being proposed

  • The business owner must also be responsible for creating the business plan

  • Must be willing to sign a minimum of a 2 year lease

  • Participants must be Southeastern Wisconsin residents and start their business in the Near West Side

  • Business must be a start-up or expanding business

  • Business must be contributing to the well-being of the neighborhood; No alcohol or tobacco businesses

  • Business must be approved for operation

Ineligible Participants

  • Businesses such as Cash for Gold, Liquor Stores, Pay Day Loans, Pawn Shops, tobacco, and gun stores.

  • Entries must contribute to the development and growth of a healthier Near West Side neighborhood.

Partners

 

Questions?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kelsey Otero at kelsey.otero@marquette.edu or 414-288-4990.


2019 Finalists

2018 Finalists

 

2017 Finalists

2016 Finalists