$400,000 grant allows Urban League of Greater Madison to launch Black Business Hub

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation awarded the Urban League of Greater Madison a $400,000 grant to help launch its Black Business Hub.

The Hub will be built at the corner of Park Street and Hughes Place by 2022. The four-story 76,000 sq. ft. building will offer businesses owned by people of color the chance to have a physical location and provide on-site resources and entrepreneur support services.

“This will allow us to overcome one of the biggest challenges that Black businesses face and that challenge is having access to capital,” said Urban League’s CEO Ruben Anthony. “The purpose of the hub is to create space to grow and nurture Black and other businesses.”

For Tanisha Harbert, this new opportunity means a chance at expanding her salon and beauty school business.

“I’ve been doing hair since I was a kid,” she said. “Sometimes we suppress the things we want to do because they’re so big.”

Harbert is the founder of Madison’s first Black-owned beauty school, Chanell Ardor Schools of Beauty and Culture. Her four-year old business’s building was recently purchased and Harbert is unable to renew her lease beyond 2022. Having The Hub as an option to relocate to not only provides her some hope for continuing her business but an opportunity to gain access to resources and support.

“I only have one location but I think about where I want to go,” Habert said. “I know that I want to have multiple locations in the United States.”

The Hub will offer loans, grants and culturally competent technical assistance to at least 40 start ups and companies owned by people of color.

“I am thrilled for us to be able to participate in this to be able to have your back and provide these resources,” said WEDC secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “That’s where the state needs to be in order to help our Black community, in order to help our whole community.”