Economic Empowerment Wisconsin is a community effort to provide low barrier grants, loans and investments for entrepreneurs of color. Our efforts couple needs analysis and technical assistance with fund development to move entrepreneurs of color from grant recipients to qualified loan candidates to attractive investments. The fund is essentially the rich and informed connection that entrepreneurs of color too often never have.
A collaboration with several referral and service organizations strengthens a case for support for Economic Empowerment Wisconsin to develop Madison’s business communities of color by creating a pool of resources for our entrepreneurs. Community partners refer potential fund recipients who pass through an intake process qualifying them to receive funds at varying levels. The appropriate fund committees make final funding decisions before participants are connected to relevant mentorship and technical assistance. We will pursue Madison Community Foundation to help facilitate the granting process, Madison Development Corporation in partnership with Nehemiah to handle the loan processes, and a strategic partnership with the Opportunity Fund to support investments.
Through this process, we understand needs, prepare entrepreneurs to receive grants that help them qualify for loans that eventually make them attractive investments - and all of this in connection to the guidance of knowledgeable local mentors.
Economic Empowerment Wisconsin is a project out of the strategic minds at Opportunity Inc. It’s a collaboration between local economic development organizations, Madison Cooperative Development Coalition, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and other Chambers of Commerce, Madison Alliance for Black Economic Empowerment, Community Venture Consortium, Madison Development Corporation and others. Once operational, a board of advisors sets goals and oversees intake, fund development and disbursement collaborations. Opportunity Inc. supports fund development, administration and strategic partnerships.
Together, we progress toward a Madison with stronger economies of color and more diverse class of successful entrepreneurs.