Challenges in Creating and Sustaining an Entrepreneurial Business in Milwaukee

Challenges in Creating and Sustaining an Entrepreneurial Business in Milwaukee

Garfield A. Plunkett (University of Phoenix, USA) and Libi Shen (University of Phoenix, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5787-6.ch008

Abstract

Small business entrepreneurs have made important contributions to economic activities in the U.S. In recent years, there were decline and high entrepreneurial failure rates for entrepreneurs throughout the country. Specifically, the continuous challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin have negatively affected job creation and the entrepreneurial process. What are the challenges faced by Milwaukee's entrepreneurs in creating and sustaining their businesses? How have the entrepreneurial challenges affected Milwaukee entrepreneurs' experiences in creating and sustaining their businesses? What specific support might be effective in overcoming the challenges? The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of 20 entrepreneurs, specifically the challenges they encountered while sustaining an entrepreneurial enterprise in the city of Milwaukee. This chapter identifies the barriers and challenges that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial small businesses must overcome. Recommendations for government leaders, entrepreneurs, and future researchers are provided.
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Background

Milwaukee is the largest city in both size and population in the US state of Wisconsin. The latest census data showed a population of 595,047 residents, and the median income for the City of Milwaukee is $35,958 (U.S. Census Bureau Data, 2016). The demographics of Milwaukee included Black (40%), White (39%), Hispanic (17%), Asian (3.5%), and American Indian (0.5%). Milwaukee has the reputation for being one of the most segregated cities in America; African Americans dominate the north side, Caucasians dominate the east side, and the south side is largely Hispanic (Causey, 2014; Denvir, 2011; Kulling, 2014; Tidmarsh, 2014; WUWM/ Milwaukee Public Radio, 2013). Milwaukee has earned a reputation for precision manufacturing. Milwaukee is a major supplier of industrial controls, steel, foundry parts, and mining machinery (MMAC, 2012). The city is the home headquarters to five Fortune 500 companies: (a) Harley-Davidson, (b) Manpower, (c) Johnson Controls, (e) Northwestern Mutual, and (f) Rockwell Automation (MMAC, 2012). In 2014, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranked the Milwaukee area number 12 on the mid-size metro-scale for being one of the best college cities (AIER, 2014).

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