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Back in the 1950s and ’60s, Milwaukee bustled with African American-owned businesses. But a combination of changing demographics and concentrated poverty dimmed the community’s once-bright glow of entrepreneurship.

In 2012, African Americans made up 22% of all business owners in Milwaukee County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Recently, the city’s African American entrepreneurs have stimulated new growth with the establishment of the Bronzeville Collective and Sherman Phoenix.

Individual entrepreneurs also have realized the need to create a support network for their peers to make Milwaukee a home of more profitable, diverse business districts.

We asked these four black businesswomen how they got their start:

Jasmine Wyatt

Artists can’t make money.

Jasmine Wyatt was not willing to let that stereotype or — as an African American woman — others define her.

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