Sabrina Madison, CEO and founder of the Progress Center for Black Women, has been building entrepreneurial networks for years. She noticed that there were a lot of people in Madison who were looking to build businesses and make connections with resources they needed, but they couldn’t find them—especially if they were new to town or didn’t have a strong network already established. That’s why she started meeting with local entrepreneurs to hear their needs and help them build those networks themselves.
“We didn’t have a centralized location to help Black women find resources” Sabrina said, as she reflected on why she created the Progress Center for Black Women. “I knew we would build out some sort of entrepreneurial program. I wanted to make sure we were building something around what entrepreneurs were telling us they needed.”
At her core, Sabrina Madison is a connector. She knew that there had to be a better way for local entrepreneurs to connect with each other and with the resources they need—and that’s how she got the idea for the FOCUS program.
With the help of Jazmynn Appleton, the PCFBW’s manager of Entrepreneurial Opportunities, they started looking into resources both locally and statewide for entrepreneurs. They then transitioned to having one-on-one conversations with Black entrepreneurs in the community to hear how they could best support their needs. Throughout their research, they learned that some entrepreneurs lacked focus, but most importantly, they weren’t strong in their day-to-day operations. “If they did not get stronger, they would see themselves fail or create overwhelming stress for themselves,” Sabrina said.
F.O.C.U.S. was designed to give Black entrepreneurs the flexibility to get focused on key aspects of running their business while providing a supportive community, masterclasses, technical training, resources, wellness activities, and mentorship while connecting them to Dane County’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. F.O.C.U.S. takes a holistic approach to empowering entrepreneurs to thrive both in their personal and professional lives. As participants complete the program, they have the opportunity to be invited to an end of year pitch where they have the chance to win cash rewards to help them in the next steps of their businesses.
“I want Black women to walk away feeling more confident in their ability to manage their day-to-day processes, and they have the tools to deal with those days when things don’t go as planned,” Sabrina said.
The Progress Center for Black women is continuously growing as they’ve recently introduced a full-time resource strategist to their team. This new role will help the center further be of resource in the Black community. This year, they’re also celebrating their fourth anniversary and are looking forward to even more growth as they expand their offerings to include more classes and workshops on topics like marketing, social media management, entrepreneurship, and other topics that will help grow your business.
The Progress Center for Black Women is located at 30 W. Mifflin, Ste 702, in Madison. To learn more visit their site at https://www.centerforblackwomen.org/ or call (608) 467-6744.