LISC National

Brew City Match announcing winners and taking applicants for third round of competition

Brew City Match, an initiative focused on catalyzing small business growth and commercial real estate development in neighborhoods surrounding downtown Milwaukee, will begin taking applications July 10 to determine a third cohort of small business owners seeking financial and other types of business development support.

A virtual kickoff event will take place Thursday, July 9at 11 a.m. The event can be accessed via Zoom with password: 635693. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will participate in the event along with neighborhood enthusiast and community curator, Adam Carr, who will lead a conversation exploring the “Butterfly Effect” that occurs when the community invests in Black and Brown entrepreneurs.

“Brew City Match is helping local entrepreneurs make their dreams real, and it gives Milwaukee an opportunity to come together in support of small minority-owned businesses,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “By promoting investment in city neighborhoods, everyone in Milwaukee benefits.”

Applications to Brew City Match’s second cohort closed in late April with 38 winners. Winners include 30 business owners and 8 commercial property owners. Among the group of business owners, 97% are entrepreneurs of color, and 77% are women-owned businesses. Winners receive resources in four tracks: Business Planning, Space, Cash, and Commercial Property Development. A complete list of winners for Round Two can be found online at                                                                                    

“Brew City Match is connecting dots between small business, commercial real estate development, and the small business development ecosystem. LISC and our partners are working to reimagine how to be relevant and responsive in order to build a more inclusive economy at the neighborhood level.”
— Beth Haskovec, Program Officer at LISC Milwaukee

“This program is a long game, which invests in both business start-ups and commercial property developments in a step by step way to better ensure sustainability and success. We congratulate the winners of Round Two, and look forward to meeting the next round of applicants,” Haskovec said.

Niche Book Bar, owned by Cetonia Weston-Roy, was in Brew City Match’s first cohort of winners. Her vision is to create a space where Black authors and literature can be celebrated.

“Black literature is wider than pain or trauma-based work. Books can and should be as versatile as the Black experience, which is inclusive of nuance and joy,” Weston-Roy said.

Weston-Roy won in the Business Planning Track and completed a business-planning course through WWBIC in Fall 2019.

“The class helped focus the plan for Niche Book Bar, which was a broad concept when I started. It gave me a deeper understanding of what was necessary to implement from idea to reality,” Weston-Roy said.

Weston-Roy was also selected as a winner in the SPACE Track in Brew City Match’s second cohort of businesses. The collaborative is working with Weston-Roy to identify a commercial location for her business within the Bronzeville neighborhood.