The Ascendium Education Group, a Madison nonprofit, has announced a $2.5 million donation to support the construction of a business center for local Black entrepreneurs.
The Urban League of Greater Madison is currently undergoing construction of the Black Business Hub, a 76,000-square-foot center dedicated to Black and BIPOC businesses. Dr. Ruben L. Anthony, Jr., president and CEO of the Urban League, said during a press conference that the Hub will provide important resources to Black entrepreneurs.
“The Hub is an essential resource for the region,” Anthony said. “This gift will help ensure that the Hub and its partners can continue to advance economic equity while providing access to invaluable resources [and] pathways for growth.”
Ascendium cited Dane County’s massive economic disparities and a history of fostering education and career opportunities as their motivation for donating to the project. The nonprofit also highlighted their goal of providing people of color with access to multi-generational tracks to build wealth and develop personal entrepreneurial endeavors
According to the Urban League, the Black Business Hub is projected to support 100 Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in the region, creating hundreds of jobs in the next few years.
The Urban League said the Hub will reinforce the local economy, support nonprofits and employ practices in sustainability.
“The Black Business Hub is the missing link for transforming the Madison Region’s Black entrepreneurial community from disparity to prosperity,” the Urban League’s website reads. “The Hub is both a physical space and a place-based, Black-led entrepreneurial ecosystem and community.”
The Black Business Hub will also develop an Accelerator program, using approximately $1 million to increase access to capital for underrepresented groups in Madison’s local business economy. This program will aid grant writing, provide funds for communities and individuals and serve as a springboard for people to begin new business ventures.
The Urban League of Greater Madison said the Hub’s resources will boost Madison’s Black business owners.
“The Black Business Hub Accelerator will offer a place-based system of entrepreneurial support including loans, grants, technical assistance, networking and more,” the Urban League said on its website. “The Black Business Hub will be Madison’s premiere enterprise center devoted to incubating, accelerating and networking Black and other BIPOC entrepreneurs.”
The Urban League will use Ascenidum’s donation to complete construction and maintenance of the Hub and to support Hub partners. Construction began in April of 2022 and will continue into 2023.