Near West Side Business Toolkit
Entrepreneurs' Dreams are Born Here

The Near West Side is a fantastic place to start your new business. We have a mix of locally owned and national retailers as well as major global brands. It is the birthplace of Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors, and the next great Milwaukee entrepreneur.

If you are thinking of investing or starting a business in the Near West Side, take a look at our business resources below to get started. Please also visit our Assets Tab to see our current businesses in the Near West Side.

The Near West Side provides business resources such as key contacts, maps, resident spending data, and more. If you are interested in opening or expanding your business in the Near West Side, please contact the Executive Director, Keith Stanley (414-933-0640).


Opportunity Zones

Milwaukee’s Near West Side has several shovel-ready and redevelopment sites located in Opportunity Zones that are prime for development. Learn more about the investments and development projects that are complete or under construction, and the featured sites that demonstrate why the Near West Side is an attractive option for Opportunity Fund investment.

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Facade Grants

The City of Milwaukee’s Facade Grant program provides financial assistance to businesses and commercial property owners in renovating the street side facades of their buildings. The program is reimbursable, and the project must be approved prior to the project beginning. The grant amount is limited to no more than 50% of the total of the eligible improvements, not to exceed $5,000 per storefront.

In an effort to leverage City funds, BID 10 will consider requests to match half of the funds awarded by the City, up to $4000.00.


Signage Grants

The Signage Grant Program was established by the City of Milwaukee to provide business owners financial incentive to add signage to commercial buildings in order to better promote their business to patrons and potential customers. This program can provide up to $2,500 towards the cost of approved signage, provided that the project budget exceeds $2,000.

In an effort to leverage City funds, BID 10 will consider requests to match half of the funds awarded by the City, up to $1,500.00.


White Box Grants

The White Box Grant Program provides targeted financial incentives to recruit new businesses to vacant commercial/retail tenant spaces in commercial buildings. This incentive offers reimbursable grant funds up to $10 per square foot with a maximum grant in the amount of $25,000. The grant may not exceed 50% of the total white-box eligible project costs. The White Box Grant Program cannot be used in conjunction with the RIF program. 

In an effort to leverage City funds, BID 10 will consider requests to match half of the funds awarded by the City, up to $4000.00.

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Retail Investment Fund (RIF)

The Retail Investment Fund (RIF) program is a reimbursement incentive program through the City of Milwaukee for retail development projects. The size of a RIF grant is determined by the size of the project, private investment, and job creation. RIF projects require a matching contribution that is in excess of the amount of RIF reward.

In an effort to leverage City funds, BID 10 will consider requests to match half of the funds awarded by the City, up to $4000.00.


Additional BID 10 Support

Business Improvement District 10 will consider grants to Near West Side businesses for the following activities: education and consulting grants, public art projects, and security equipment. Grants may be made available to owners of commercial properties listed on the BID assessment roster and their tenants.

  • Security Cameras: BID 10 will consider reimbursable grants up to $1,000.00.

  • Education and Consulting: BID 10 will consider reimbursable grants up to $500.00.

  • Public Art: BID 10 will consider reimbursable grant up to $1,000.00.

Projects must be completed within 18 months of written approval by the BID 10 Board. All grants are subject to funds available in the annual budget. The BID Board has ultimate discretion on funding decisions and may grant more or less than outlined guidelines.


Historic Preservation Tax Credits (HTC)

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) administers the Historic Preservation Tax Credit (HTC) program that applies to certified historic buildings. Under the program, owners of eligible buildings may receive a state income tax credit for up 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitated expenditures. Several downtown Milwaukee properties have been rehabilitated through the use of HTCs which has resulted in a significant tax base and job growth, as well as the further stabilization of historic buildings and neighborhoods. 


Town Bank Small Business Loan

Near West Side Partners is proud to launch a small business loan program in partnership with Town Bank. Town Bank can help by providing creative financial solutions, personalized service and quick loan decisions for businesses in the Near West Side.

Additional information can be found online. To access a credit application, visit www.TownBank.us/Credit or email TownBankSmallBusiness@townbank.us

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