UWM: School of Continuing Education Revives Minority Entrepreneurship Program

MILWAUKEE — The Minority Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is alive and well. The program, which provides management training and technical assistance to help entrepreneurs and business owners succeed, has moved from the UWM School of Business Administration to the Small Business Development Center within the UWM School of Continuing Education.

According to SBDC Director Lucy Holifield, the transition is a natural. “We already have a shared focus and mission,” Holifield says. “The move actually expands and improves the value MEP can be to area minority entrepreneurs. Our programs are very outcome oriented and involve one-on-one and team mentoring.”

SBDC offers business management education programs and no-cost individualized consulting to clients in Milwaukee, Washington and Ozaukee counties. It helps businesses at all stages of development.

“We are further strengthening MEP by using new and innovative business models that have proven to be successful in helping to grow minority businesses,” Holifield notes. “We also are able to apply a very impressive variety of relevant business and management programs already existing here at the SBDC and within other departments in the School of Continuing Education such as the Center for Workforce Development, IDEAL Milwaukee (Institute for Diversity Education & Leadership) and our Business, Engineering and Technology training programs. I think it is clear that minority business people and entrepreneurs will find a very robust and reliable support system with us.”

Dean V. Kanti Prasad, of the UWM School of Business Administration, notes that the School will maintain a role in the MEP. “The School of Business Administration offers extensive degree coursework in entrepreneurship and will continue to be involved in programs and workshops beneficial to minority entrepreneurs. We are confident that the Minority Entrepreneurship Program will be effective and successful in its new home, where there is an extensive infrastructure in place for mentoring and advising on an individual basis” Prasad says. “We remain committed to contributing to that success.”

To assure that SBDC and MEP programs meet the real needs of the community, the SBDC has scheduled “listening sessions” at which minority business owners can discuss the issues and challenges they face. “These sessions,” Holifield says, “are for people who have been in business for at least two years.” The sessions, Saturdays May 15 and 22, 9-11 am, are at the School of Continuing Education, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Seventh Floor. Registration is required. Call 414-227-3200.

The SBDC offers business management education programs and no-cost individualized consulting to any and all clients in Milwaukee, Washington and Ozaukee counties. It is available to help businesses at all stages of development. It also, however, has a special emphasis on minority businesses.

“We have long worked with groups like the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hmong Improvement Association,” Holifield says. “We recently launched El Centro Empresarial to offer our services and resources the growing Hispanic business community.

“Adding the Minority Entrepreneurship Program to our family of programs is a perfect fit,” Holifield says.

To learn more about SBDC and its programs, call 414-227-3242 or visit www.sce-smallbusiness.uwm.edu.