REV-UP MKE 2022

The Rev-Up MKE small business competition provides an opportunity for start-up entrepreneurs to get the support needed to open or expand a business in the Near West Side. Competition finalists present their business ideas to the community during a live pitch event.

A seminal example of economic development programming, the annual competition attracts new businesses and acts as a catalyst to spark interest and development in the commercial corridors of the Near West Side. At the same time, the competition includes elements of community and resident engagement by encouraging residents to vote for the business models they want to see in their neighborhoods.

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 14 – will receive significant resources to support their new venture, which will be located in a Near West Side storefront. 

See past winners and finalists

2022 Rev-Up MKE Winner

Vertical Essence Dance Company

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About the Competition

The Near West Side is open for business!

Grand Prizes

1st place winner will be awarded:

  • $10,000 start up business funding from Town Bank;
  • Over $25,000 in-kind services (architectural renderings, small business consulting, free legal audit and possible representation, communication support); and
  • 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 a $1,000 cash prize.

Judging Criteria

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.
Clearly identified customer, size of customer base, scalability in both geography and reach, in-depth competitive analysis.
Relative domain and industry experience, business track record, education, etc.
Clearly defined vision and objectives, roadmap for implementation, and perceived strategic advantage. Business will be viable.
Clearly demonstrates 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.

2022 Rev-Up MKE Photos

Questions?

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

Past Winners Include

2019

A Goodman’s Desserts

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2018

KalyANa Organics

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2017

Lisa Kaye Catering

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2016

Pete’s Pops

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All past Rev-Up MKE participants are detailed below.

2022 Finalists

2019 Finalists

2018 Finalists

2017 Finalists

2016 Finalists

Rev-Up Sponsors

Questions? Feedback? Ideas?

We’re here to answer your questions.