Scale Up Milwaukee: SPARC business accelerator program open to business owners throughout region

MILWAUKEE – Scale Up Milwaukee is launching its fourth SPARC cohort with applications being accepted from business owners throughout Wisconsin and the surrounding region through the end of August for the business accelerator program focused on Black-, Latinx-, and woman-owned businesses.

Programming will be held in a virtual setting and is open to minority- and woman-owned companies with annual revenue of between $100K and $1 million. Applications for the program can be found at

There will be 10 weekly classes from September through November, providing one-on-one access with program instructors and experts, with more than 30 hours of instruction. Businesses outside of the greater Milwaukee area are welcome to apply.

“There’s no doubt that thriving businesses can have an extraordinary impact on a community, however, it’s only when Black and Latinx businesses are succeeding that we can expect our communities to reach their fullest potential,” said Elmer Moore, executive director of Scale Up Milwaukee.

Curriculum will focus on how businesses can pivot operations to a digital presence, remote work, crisis recovery and planning, cash flow, and use of government funding from programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.

The SPARC program has 66 alumni businesses that averaged a 57 percent increase in revenue last year. JP Morgan Chase provided funding support to launch the SPARC program in 2017.

“SPARC has enabled me to consider my business from more diverse angles, which helped me to adapt quickly during the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Melanie Manuel, owner of Celesta Restaurant and graduate of the SPARC 3 cohort. “SPARC also empowered me to feel more confident about my finances, to manage my staff and provide leadership during this challenging time, and to communicate with my customers via my marketing strategy so they knew they would be in good hands doing business with us.”