In January of 2022, the City of Madison released a comprehensive plan for the South Side of Madison, Wisconsin. Madison’s Black Business Hub, which had a soft opening last fall, fits squarely into many of the cultural advancements and strategies which the City of Madison has outlined in their report. The Hub will have a firm opening this spring and will reveal many surprises that will not only support and grow black businesses but increase foot traffic to the area. A hand full of businesses are currently operational while the building is still under construction forming workspaces for those to come.
Dr. Ruben Anthony has given numerous tours of the Hub. Although unscripted, one would think that he must have an in-ear assistant giving construction terminology, building data, work-force percentages and a floor-by-floor descriptions. UMOJA staff and members from the Milwaukee Urban League had the opportunity to take this tour and were quite impressed with information outlining every nuance from finance to construction to tenants.
The Hub is 85% completed. All but approximately 2 million dollars has been raised to meet the initial goal. When fully operational, the Hub will be self-sustaining. A great plan with great results. Over 180 perspective businesses understood this and were waiting to be vetted and accepted as initial tenants as soon as there was a ground-breaking ceremony. Many businesses are currently going this process. If you would like your business to be considered, please connect with Magugu Davis the new Hub Director @ 608.729.1200.
An overview of building features and areas include…
• A fully equipped industrial kitchen for the community-membership required
• Micro businesses and kiosks including a Smoothie Shoppe / Mountain Coffee / Jamaican American Food / Credit Union / Consignment Space for up to 10-15 businesses.
• The 2nd floor will house a barber shop, a beauty shop and a pod cast studio. You’ll also find the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce / The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) / Exact Sciences and space available for 2 or 3 additional businesses.
• Support services including Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation / Forward Community Investment / Hope Community Capital / Safe Communities / A Financial services area / Space for youth entrepreneurs.
• A co-working space with 17 offices and many cubicles and that will allow for up to 40 different businesses to rotate use.
• An event space that can hold up to 200 attendees. An overhead door opens to a patio area which offers the perfect setting to extend the space for open-air events and activities.
As a part of development and growth, businesses and potential tenants engage with gAlpha and gBeta programs through the Urban League of Greater Madison. 40 businesses within 4 cohorts have gone through thus far. gALPHA is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs that don’t necessarily have a company yet. gBETA is for early-stage companies looking to grow and scale. For more information, please see https://www.gener8tor.com/galpha/urban-league
When asked, “What benefit will the Hub contribute to South Madison?” Dr. Anthony replied, “It will ignite the renaissance of the south side and be an economic engine that will continue to give for multiple generations.” If you would like to have your name appear for multiple generations as part of the Black Business Hub, you can purchase a naming brick or paver for the outside. Larger contributions will display your name on the inside donor wall.