Inner City Business Development

The Milwaukee 7 believes that our region will move forward only if it is growing its central city business districts.  The inner city of Milwaukee holds great promise, but is not advancing economically. The inner city has been hard hit by the loss of many of its largest employers as a result of relocation, acquisition and failure.  According to the 2000 U.S. Census data, 30% of Milwaukee's inner city residents live in poverty, compared with only 11% for the region. This prosperity divide is also a racial divide; 65% of the inner city populations are minorities compared to 10% for the region.  Despite these challenges, the inner city offers a solid platform for future improvement.  According to the Wisconsin Department of Labor, there are more than 5,000 businesses in the inner city that collectively employ more than 120,000 people.

The Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee

The Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee (ICM) was formed to develop the untapped business potential in Milwaukee's inner city and promote economic opportunities for inner city residents.  To better understand the issues facing inner-city businesses and identify barriers to growth and opportunities, the ICM and the Milwaukee 7 Business Call Team conducted a survey targeted at 170 of these firms.  The findings, released in January 2008, highlight that Milwaukee's central city is a viable location for business success and inner-city firms are relatively healthy and growing, in spite of local, regional and global challenges.

Interviews were conducted with 81 companies, almost half of which were in manufacturing.  More than half (53%) reported an increase in sales and earnings over the past three years; 63% expect more profits over the next three years; 49% expect to add significantly more employees over the coming year; 50% said the business climate has improved over the last few years; and 47% reported they are going to make significantly higher capital expenditures.

Click here to view the full report.


The Supplier DIVERSITY Module

The Supplier Diversity Module, operated by The Business Council in conjunction with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), matches ethnically diverse businesses with large corporations in the region to generate new business and a broader pool of qualified ethnically diverse vendors.

The program was started in 2002 to begin to address the disparity between the revenues of ethnically diverse firms compared to those of others in the Milwaukee Region.  Ethnically diverse-owned firms make up 6.5% of the total companies but only 1.3% of total receipts in the metro Milwaukee area.

Through 2011, the supplier module has generated $157 million in revenue for 22 participating ethnically diverse businesses.

Corporate participants in the module include:

Minority business enterprises include:

For more information on the Minority Supplier Module, contact:

The Business Council (TBC)
756 N. Milwaukee Street, Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI  53202
414-287-4142; Fax 414-271-7753

Ethnically Diverse Business Growth

The Supplier Diversity Module has generated

$157 million

for ethnically diverse firms since the program began in 2002.