Que El-Amin remembers the challenges he and his brother Khalif El-Amin faced while expanding their first business.
It was 2008 – way before social media, Google business listings and Yelp really took off. The Milwaukee-based brothers’ company was called MKE Network. They envisioned it as a listing site for small businesses at a time when many small businesses didn’t have social media pages.
Their trial-by-fire experiences led the brothers to think about the role of education and mentorship in the startup business sphere. Startup businesses are tricky: unlike typical, local small businesses, a startup is intended to expand rapidly and return money to investors. Often, a startup is prepped to get bought up by a larger company. Getting there involves more financial risk for a bigger potential reward.
That’s what led the El-Amin brothers to start The Blueprint program, an education and mentorship program for entrepreneurs of color in Milwaukee.