MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Starting a business is hard. But it will be a lot easier for the people who win a new contest. The big prize -- $5,000 to cover start-up costs and a deal on a building.
Milwaukee officials believe they're tearing down the barrier separating someone with a great idea from the business of their dreams.
"We decided to have a competition not only to find a new tenant for this building, but also to find some people who are having a difficult time," said Natanael Martinez of the Layton West Boulevard Neighbors.
Vacant storefronts at 35th and National Ave. in Milwaukee are two of the 24 foreclosed properties being renovated and sold by the Layton West Boulevard Neighbors and Impact Seven. Using a pool of federal, state, local and private sources, the developers hope the refurbished properties will re-energize five south side neighborhoods.
"Maybe people that hadn't thought about the neighborhood, maybe they drove past and maybe thought 'this might not be the place for my business.' This engages them in the neighborhood," said Martinez.
While people can apply for the 22 homes, the developers are holding a contest for one of the commercial properties. The entrepreneur who makes the most compelling pitch gets to lease the building at the discounted rate -- plus they get $5,000 to launch the business.
"That's where you start, you get creative people, real entrepreneurs who want to make money and putting them on Milwaukee's south side is a great way to get going," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
For those interested in entering the contest, you need to submit a letter of intent by the end of May. A full proposal must be submitted by June 30th.