Dane County is set to approve a $2 million purchase of space for the Urban League of Greater Madison’s Black Business Hub on South Park Street, County Executive Parisi announced today. Pending approval by the County Board this evening, Dane County will purchase a portion of the building and lease it back to the Urban League to help support its economic development hub along the South Park Street corridor dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Urban League of Greater Madison in this effort to develop a space where Dane County entrepreneurs of color can gather to gain the support, experience, and skills they need to thrive,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This approval brings the Black Business Hub one step closer to completion, with the ultimate goal of helping local entrepreneurs build connections and find community as they work to achieve their goals.”

The Urban League’s Black Business Hub and Black Business Hub Accelerator Program will be the Madison region’s premiere enterprise center devoted to incubating, accelerating, and networking Black and other entrepreneurs of color. The Hub will be a self-sustaining 80,000 square foot center of commerce and entrepreneurism home to retail and other BIPOC-owned businesses, co-working space, a shared commercial kitchen, on-site small business development agencies, and more.

“We were able to get the Black Business Hub started because County Executive Joe Parisi immediately committed $2 million towards the project when we described the economic impact that the project would have on the region,” said Ruben Anthony, President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison. “This commitment has ignited a wide array of support from public and private partners. The Hub will address the disparities that Black businesses face and create an economic support system that will continue to build wealth in the community for multiple generations.”

The Urban League’s Black Business Hub will serve the entire Madison region, but it is strategically located in an economically ‘severely distressed’ census tract where more than half of the households are below 60% of the Area Median Gross Income. It will be located at a high traffic intersection visible from the Beltline Highway and in the heart of Madison’s oldest multi-cultural neighborhood.

The Hub will offer retail, office, co-working, pop-up vending, meeting, event, commercial kitchen, and amenity space at deeply subsidized/affordable rents. It will also offer a place-based entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes loans, grants, training, mentoring, networking, and more. This will include cohort-based training through a partnership with the nationally-ranked gener8tor program and other partners such as the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.

Through this effort, Dane County and the Urban League want to build community wealth by engaging neighborhood partners, supporting small businesses, and demonstrating that socially just and culturally rich projects can be successful in historically disinvested communities.

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