Three storefronts on Milwaukee neighborhood main streets including West North Avenue this June will become pop-up spaces under an effort by local organizations to grow more businesses.

The Pop-Up MKE program will give start-up companies one or two months to occupy those retail spaces to test their business model and, if successful, move into their own full-time storefronts. The application process opened Wednesday, and 12 businesses will be selected in the first round.

The program is led by the Milwaukee chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corp., or LISC, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. and MKE United, a group that includes the city, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Committee and Milwaukee Urban League.

The three storefronts will be located on or near North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cesar Chavez Drive and West North Avenue at Fond du Lac Avenue. Exact locations were not announced because the leases have not yet been signed. The city of Milwaukee will help pay for the renovation of those retail spaces.

LISC Milwaukee rolls out the program in collaboration with a new training initiative. The Chase Ramp Up program will have the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin providing training courses for participants in the program. That training program is modeled on the MORTAR training program in Cincinnati. LISC recently led a delegation to Cincinnati to see that program in action.

Other training will be provided by the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.

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