Dept. of Commerce: Governor Doyle Announces $100,000 Grant for Initiative For a Competitive Milwaukee

Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608-267-9661
Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Grant Will Help Create Jobs, Expand Business in Milwaukee’s
Inner City

MILWAUKEE – Governor Jim Doyle announced today a $100,000
Department of Commerce grant for the Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee
(ICM), an organization devoted to increasing business growth and creating
jobs in Milwaukee’s inner city.

“I am pleased to continue my Administration’s partnership
with the Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee and to announce a new grant
of $100,000 from the Department of Commerce,” Governor Doyle said. “This
funding, combined with significant funding from the private sector, will
support the Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee’s ongoing work.”

Governor Doyle said that his Administration has already
partnered with the ICM by providing leadership, time, and resources. Over
the next three years, the Department of Workforce Development will provide
$75,000 to the ICM.

“The Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee recognizes the
importance of a vibrant inner city in Milwaukee,” Governor Doyle said.
“This is important not only to southeast Wisconsin, but our entire state.
In recent years, the decline in manufacturing has hit Milwaukee hard and its
inner city even harder. The Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee
represents a strategy to build Milwaukee’s economy from the ground up by
investing in new businesses, rewarding and encouraging entrepreneurship, and
in particular, promoting the development of minority-owned businesses.”

Governor Doyle said that the ICM has attracted the support
and sponsorship of a broad section of the Milwaukee community, including We
Energies, Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation, Aurora Health Care, Marquette
University, and Journal Communications.

At today’s press conference, Miller Brewing Company
announced a $25,000 grant to support the ICM.

“Investing in initiatives that help people achieve economic
success and contribute to the community’s long-term economic sustainability
are key components of Miller Brewing Company’s corporate social
responsibility philosophy,” said Virgis Colbert, Miller Brewing Company
executive vice president of worldwide operations. “We’re proud to partner
with the Initiative for a Competitive Milwaukee by providing a $25,000 grant
to make a tangible difference in increasing opportunities for those most in
need within our community.”

“Through their support of the Initiative for a Competitive
Milwaukee, Governor Doyle and corporations like Miller Brewing Company
empower Milwaukee’s inner city residents with the resources to create
businesses, wealth, and family sustaining jobs,” said Art Smith, CEO of the

Recently, the ICM partnered with the Initiative for a
Competitive Inner City, a national organization founded by Michael Porter of
Harvard whose work with economic clusters is internationally recognized.
The ICM assessed the economic needs of inner city Milwaukee and set out a
strategy for the future. It will focus on four key industries that offer
the most promise in building a vibrant inner city economy: health services,
construction, business process service centers, and manufacturing.

The ICM’s ongoing efforts include:

* Helping entrepreneurs setup businesses by providing technical
assistance, links to financial resources, and training.
* Positioning Milwaukee as an attractive location for businesses
looking to relocate.
* Investing in existing businesses, giving grants to inner city
manufacturers – including a grant to Mil-Tex Steel Fabricating to improve
efficiency and generate new revenue.

The ICM expects its efforts to create at least 1,000 jobs in
the inner city in the next five years.

Since Governor Doyle took office, the Department of Commerce
has made 97 awards to minority firms totaling $2.3 million for projects that
retained 141 jobs, created 230 jobs, and leveraged $20 million in private
funds. About $37 million of the nearly $145 million in construction work
contracts signed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the Marquette
Interchange Project this year – fully one quarter of the whole – went to
minority or disadvantaged contractors or subcontractors – meeting and, most
of the time, surpassing the goals set by DOT.

The Greater Milwaukee Committee, a private sector civic
organization founded in 1940, is sponsoring the ICM.