Common Council Approves Program to Support BIPOC Entrepreneurs
The Common Council last night approved a $300,000 Request for Proposals (RFP) for management of the BizReady program, a training, technical assistance, and micro-enterprise funding initiative to support the development of BIPOC entrepreneurs across the city.
BizReady emerged from an understanding that BIPOC business ownership in Madison lagged behind BIPOC population growth in the city. Madison believes in creating a diverse business ownership ecosystem that fosters inclusion within the community.
“Owning a business is a pathway to building generational wealth, and it’s important that it be accessible to anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit. Local businesses are critical to Madison’s economy, so it’s important that they represent the Madison community. This program will help diversify business ownership and create a social and economic environment that’s inclusive of everyone,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who cosponsored the resolution to approve the RFP. The resolution was also sponsored by Alders Madison, Wehelie, Duncan, and Latimer Burris.
The BizReady program will focus on helping entrepreneurs prepare business plans, establish required permits or licenses, develop marketing plans, and more. It will be funded by American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds.
The program will build on successes and lessons learned from the impactful MarketReady Program that launched in 2017. MarketReady helped build and empower a cohort of diverse food entrepreneurs by connecting them with mentors and other resources that helped them flourish.
The BizReady program will fall under the umbrella of the city’s Small Business Equity and Recovery (SBER) program. SBER is a city-sponsored program that provides financial assistance programs to local businesses. This includes commercial ownership assistance, grants for restoring storefronts, and more.
The RFP for the program administrator is set to be released on July 17th. Organizations interested in responding should contact Saran Ouk at Souk@cityofmadison.com.