Select Page

Tour of local success stories kicks off Milwaukee small business week

In recognition of Milwaukee entrepreneurs, event organizers hosted a special tour of small business owners located around the city on May 1 to showcase their personal stories and positive community impact.

The idea behind the bus tour for Milwaukee Small Business Week was to give community stakeholders a chance to go into the heart of the city and get a firsthand look at the small businesses that are thriving, and hear about the benefits of the city programs that helped them to open their doors and storefronts.

“Our Small Business Bus Tour is a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with local entrepreneurs, talk with the owners, and tour their locations,” said Nepherterra Estrada Best, Milwaukee Small Business Week Founder and Organizer. “We tried to feature a range of new and seasoned business owners with powerful stories. It’s hard to take this tour and not walk away inspired.”

Milwaukee is going through another renaissance cycle, and people either want to start a business or companies are trying to build up their capacity. But banks are hesitant to fund most growth projects because they are unsure how long the trend will last. A lot of startup businesses also lack the collateral equity to put into an enterprise. In general, Milwaukee institutions have yet to figure out how to fill that gap, to assist entrepreneurs in obtaining collateral to start a business.

“The last time Milwaukee had this ecosystem of entrepreneurship was the late 1800s, because we were creating a city. So we can almost say that today we are trying to create the new Milwaukee,” said Joaquin J. Altoro, Vice President of Commercial Banking at Town Bank. “That requires a real concentration at neighborhood level, to figure out what makes communities healthy, and how can we support initiatives around that.”

The average Milwaukee citizen often is unaware of the vital role that small businesses play in our local economy. These stories are overshadowed by the large scale firms. Other companies and industries play a necessary role in the daily operations and growth of the economy beyond downtown, and the small business tour helped to highlight some of Milwaukee’s small business champions within the community.

“I enjoy the opportunity to actually get out and see, feel, and touch small businesses. It really is a different dynamic,” said Altoro. “As a banker, the way I have to define and evaluate a business, unfortunately but fortunately, is the paperwork side. So to actually see it and touch it, that gives me a different viewpoint as to the real world struggles, or successes, or excitement that they provide to the fabric of Milwaukee.”

From HVAC companies and pizzerias to video game shops and kitchen accessory stores, the Milwaukee Small Business Week Bus Tour showcased the city’s diverse businesses and brands. The discussions also opened up collaborative opportunities and new networks of communications.

“Sometimes people get concerned about being awarded a certain contract to work on certain projects. Just because it doesn’t work out that first go-round, they shouldn’t give up,” said Nikki Purvis, Director of the Office of Small Business Development (OSBD) for the City of Milwaukee. “Someone will notice your great work, someone will notice your drive, and your passion will definitely carry you through. Be great at what you do, be authentic at what you do, and provide a great quality product or service, and people recognize you for the great things that you’re doing.”

Rockwell Mechanical, Certified HVAC company – Antonio Velez, Owner

Phongsavan Asian Market

Phongsavan Asian Market, Shopping and community center – Pai Yang, Owner

Rockwell Mechanical

Battlebox Studios, Video game shop – Bryant Wilcox, Owner

Battlebox Studios

Our Daily Salt, Wooden kitchen wares – Felisha Wild and Janelle Phalen, Owners

Our Daily Salt

WY ‘east Pizza, Pizza restaurant – James Durawa and Ann Brock, Owners

WY ‘east Pizza

About The Author

Editor

This is a general byline. The news we report is our focus, not getting credit. This generic attribution is used when our staff wants to make sure the attention goes where it belongs, on the story. Our mission is to inspire and transform the Milwaukee community. Publishing requires an author, so this account is used to keep the spotlight is on our coverage.

Photo © Notice

Original images published on this news platform are the editorial content and the exclusive property of the Milwaukee Independent LLC. All usage is forbidden.

Snapshot

  • wwwmilwaukeeindependentcom

Follow Us

Knezelism of the Week: December 11
www.milwaukeeindependent.com/cartoons
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Daily Tweets

Events Calendar

december

21dec5:00 pm- 9:00 pmPop-Up Holiday Shopwith Milwaukee Makers Market

premade-image-mi

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates delivered directly to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!