Business alliance Local First Milwaukee is hosting their second annual Grow Local Business Expo next Tuesday, April 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., to provide area businesses with networking opportunities and educational panels. The daylong event is hosted at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery and features a keynote speech about growing local businesses by Christine Hill, executive director of Marquette University’s Future Milwaukee.
Though there is still time for businesses to sign up, the event already has more attendees and vendors pledged to come than last year. And for good reason: Events like this expo not only enhance Milwaukee’s growing local business scene, but also boost the economy. A recent survey showed that Milwaukee businesses like Local First Milwaukee’s founders Colectivo and Beans and Barley reinvest more than 44¢ per dollar back into the local economy, compared with only 14¢ reinvested by national chains.
According to Dawn Huibregtse, managing director of Local First Milwaukee, one of the best ways to support local businesses is to put them in contact with each other, which is an important aspect of Local First Milwaukee’s work and of this business expo in particular. In fact, business owners who cannot attend for the full day can come to just the networking happy hour portion for a reduced fee.
“Through networking with other business owners, expo attendees can learn about what works well for other businesses and also begin beneficial partnerships,” said Huibregtse. “Also, business owners can learn a lot about things they don’t normally work with themselves, like new technologies and marketing strategies.”
In addition to this expo, Local First Milwaukee has over 300 Milwaukee County business members that they support through other networking events and community activities. Their members help the Milwaukee economy by virtue of being independent businesses and also give back by working with community charities.