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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 14, 2024

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and the city council announced the creation of a new initiative aimed at increasing business ownership in minority communities.   

Madison rolls out initiative to promote minority entrepreneurship

In an attempt to encourage entrepreneurship among Madison’s minority communities, the city council and Mayor Paul Soglin announced a new citywide initiative to promote and support local, diverse entrepreneurship. 

The Equity Business Initiative will “focus the city’s existing business development resources as well as a new fund toward communities that have historically faced barriers to accessing capital to start or grow a business enterprise.”

The focus of the initiative is to help further integrate people of color into the business community, which has historically lacked diversity in ownership. 

The initiative will review the current city-sponsored business development programs and then develop strategies to coordinate them to focus on certain target populations. 

In addition, the city will create a “Four-Tier Equity Business Initiative Fund” to support local promising entrepreneurs of color. The fund will create a selected group of diverse entrepreneurs, provide them with training and grants. It will also provide ten entrepreneurs a dollar-to-dollar match for loans up to $10,000 from the organization Kiva, grant $50,000 ten local businesses with an emphasis on retail or community service businesses, as well as loans to businesses looking to build their enterprise.

Other parts of the program will supply additional loans, grants and assistance programs to entrepreneurs and business owners. 

The initiative is expected to begin in 2020, with a price tag of $2.3 million over the first two years. 

“Having more Madison businesses owned by people of color is key to making our city more welcoming and inclusive,” Madison City Council President Samba Baldeh said. “These efforts can help address disparities over the long term.”

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