The Near West Side is a fantastic place to launch your business. With locally-owned establishments and global corporations located in our neighborhoods, this supportive, thriving community is full of opportunities for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and long-standing business owners alike. Home to some of Milwaukee’s most diverse neighborhoods, the Near West Side boasts an impressive roster of Black-owned, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses.

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.

Brew City Match

Brew City Match is an innovative collaboration fueling commercial corridor development and entrepreneurship in Milwaukee supported by JP Morgan Chase & Co., Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), and in partnership with the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Savings & Loan, MEDC, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), and the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s MKE United Initiative. A variety of resources are available to Near West Side business owners, property owners, and entrepreneurs to help jump-start a new business, expand an existing company, and support business relocation.

Façade Grants

The City of Milwaukee’s Façade Grant program provides financial assistance to businesses and commercial property owners in renovating the street side façades 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.

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 or email

Small Business Assistance Organizations

Milwaukee is quickly becoming an entrepreneurial hub. A number of resources can help with business plan development, technical assistance, mentorship, and even non-traditional loans to get your business and dream off the ground.

Daddy’s Soul Food & Grille

Family-owned restaurant Daddy’s Soul Food & Grille has become a Near West Side staple, and its success has allowed owners Benny and Angela Smith to expand the size of their dining area and open a second location on Blue Mound Road.

Lisa Kaye Catering

Near West Side business owner and Rev-Up MKE finalist Chef Lisa McKay owns and operates Lisa Kaye Catering, offering high-quality, affordable catering services across Milwaukee.

PWD Computers

Open for 14 years and counting, PWD Computers found a welcoming community and lucrative business opportunity in the Near West Side, catering to the ever-growing technological needs of the neighborhood and broader Milwaukee area.