Milky Way Tech Hub and Milwaukee Community Founders
The Milky Way Tech Hub (MWTH) and Milwaukee Founders Community (MFC) partnered to host another round of the LaunchPad Competition in Milwaukee. Wisconsin and national startups pitched at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee for a chance at $5,000.
The pitch competition was open to all entrepreneurs and startups in the technology sector at the idea stage. The purpose of the pitch competitions is to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their ideas, innovations, and business plans.
The first LaunchPad Competition was held in May with Secure Bridges taking home $2,500. Secure Bridges is a wellness marketplace for empowering youth to advocate for their own well-being.
“We aim to foster innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship within the community. In a winner, we look for several key qualities, including a compelling and innovative business concept, a well-thought-out and scalable business model, a strong market potential, a solid execution strategy, and a passionate and capable team,” said MWTH and Jet Constellations Founder Nadiyah Johnson.
MWTH, which is under its parent company Jet Constellations, is actively transforming Milwaukee into a tech hub that is ensuring Black and Brown people are at the forefront.
MFC prioritizes customers, capital, celebration, and connections to support a community of change-makers.
Meet the Winner Monte Eady
Milwaukee native Monte Eady is not new to pitch competitions or owning his own tech company. Eady started his first tech company LikeMinds while in college. Yet, going into the LaunchPad Competition, he pitched an entirely new idea.
Eady successfully pitched his latest tech endeavor I Got Nxt: a mobile application that allows basketball players to locate and rent indoor gymnasiums for competitive and recreational activities.
“I have had I Got Nxt on the back burner for some years now. My first initial concepts of the platform were sketched and written out back in 2017. Timing is everything. And everything told me it was time to pursue this.”– Monte Eady
Through I Got Nxt, Eady wants to create an ecosystem around players, coaches, trainers, and facilities.
“I see it as an opportunity to bring the city together and potentially knock down some barriers,” Eady said.
Eady is on his way to running two tech companies in the city of Milwaukee.
“I see a tech industry that has more Black people involved. We have always been here, but it’s hard to ignore the noise that we are making now,” Eady said about Milwaukee’s tech scene. “We have some amazing talent coming up in our city and it’s our duty to make sure that they one, succeed in what they are doing, and two, succeed in what they are doing here.”
MKE Tech Week and WI Tech Month are Owned by a Black Woman
Wisconsin Tech Month launched in 2021 through the partnership of MWTH and Latinos in Tech. The month received a formal proclamation by Governor Tony Evers that recognizes October as WI Tech Month.
In early June, MWTH announced that Milwaukee Tech Week is now under WI Tech Month. According to the company’s newsletter, this move represents a monumental step forward in its mission to foster an equitable and innovative tech ecosystem. MKE Tech Week was previously run by The MKE Tech Hub Coalition.
“Our company strives to have a positive and transformative impact on Milwaukee. We aim to foster economic growth, innovation, and job creation within the local community…by fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, we hope to attract investment, drive technological advancements, and contribute to the overall prosperity and well-being of Milwaukee,” said Johnson.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.