Rev-Up MKE to revitalize Near West Side, Sept. 14

An icon graphic representing Social Responsibility Through Community Engagement from the Beyond Boundries Strategic PlanRev-Up MKE, an annual small business contest that aims to revitalize commercial corridors in Milwaukee’s Near West Side, will return on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 5 p.m. in The Rave/Eagles Ballroom as a signature event during Near West Side Week.

Admission is free. Past winners include Pete’s Pops, Lisa Kaye Catering, Triciclo Peru MKE, Hands in Harmony, KalyANa Organics and A Goodman’s Desserts.   

The event is organized by Marquette University and Near West Side Partners and sponsored by Harley-Davidson and Town Bank.  

Kelsey Otero, director of innovation in Marquette’s 707 Hub, describes Rev-Up MKE as a way to “encourage local and main street businesses to open and expand in the Near West Side and be a part of the community.”

“Rev-Up MKE particularly seeks businesses that will prioritize having a storefront,” Otero said.

The competition provides an opportunity to both propel business into the community and support entrepreneurs’ journeys to success.

As an engagement component, Near West Side residents are involved in Rev-Up MKE when they vote for which businesses they’d like to see in their own neighborhood. This happens live at the event, with the audience’s choice taking home $1,000. The grand prize is $10,000, a package of pro-bono services and publicity. The winner will be announced live on Wedneday, Sept. 14, at the dynamic community event.  Leading up to the live event, final contestants receive hands-on pitch training at the 707 Hub.  

To apply for Rev-Up MKE, you must complete a brief online application and agree to operate your business in Milwaukee’s Near West Side. You can apply here 

This year, Rev-Up MKE will feature a “Taste of the Near West Side.”  Attendees will be able to enjoy samples from past winners and local businesses before and after the pitches. The Marquette community is encouraged to attend and support the Rev-Up MKE finalists who are looking to call the Near West Side home for their business.