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Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce promises more help for startup firms

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The Milwaukee area's largest business group is promising to put more emphasis on funding startup firms.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce said it's best known for attracting corporations and helping them expand.

MMAC board member Chris Abele is a start-up investor and former Milwaukee County Executive. During an announcement Monday, he said the MMAC now plans to expand its venture capital work to help start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

MMAC board member, and former Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele, speaks during Monday's announcement.
MMAC board member and former Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele, speaks during Monday's announcement.

"We've partnered with the Wisconsin Policy Forum to help develop and then maintain a dashboard, which we will share and will be made public with anybody who's interested," Abele said. "And the idea with the dashboard is to measure and show, and track activity in the start-up communities."

The MMAC said there would also be mentoring for start-up companies and that MMAC is trying to add entrepreneurs to its board. The MMAC said the preliminary budget for the start-up investment project is close to a half-million dollars over the next couple of years.

Traditionally, most start-up money has gone to firms on the East and West Coasts, and the great majority has gone to white-owned companies. But Abele said he believes there's a willingness to put time and resources into making the funding scene more diverse.

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