Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 1:22pm

A Message from Mayor Rhodes-Conway

Equity is a top priority for the City of Madison. Our communities of color have disproportionately felt the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and businesses owned by people of color here are struggling. As we turn our focus to economic recovery, we know that entrepreneurship and business ownership are a vital pathway toward economic empowerment, and we know that communities of color will need support in accessing the state and federal resources available to them. A healthy and inclusive business community is vital to making Madison the welcoming and inclusive City we aspire to be.

I am pleased to announce today that the City of Madison will be investing an additional $35,000 each in the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Chamber of Commerce to ensure continued support for Madison businesses. This will double our investment in these two organizations that are crucial to the success of Black and Latinx owned businesses in the community. We have been collaborating with both the Latino and Black Chambers for more than ten years. Both have worked to help businesses get started and grow by providing technical assistance and connecting entrepreneurs to financial resources. This investment will help support the continuation of important work of both Chambers, making sure Madison is supporting businesses owned by people of color.

Because of COVID-19, these organizations are experiencing increased numbers of calls for support from business owners. The City wants to ensure both organizations are able to continue offering their critical support services to help businesses survive the pandemic and get them positioned for recovery.

Camille Carter, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce Board President, noted, “This is exactly what the Black business community needs at this time. Our business owners are seeking ways to readjust and move forward in a successful manner within this new reality. It will be essential to manage and leverage resources strategically and the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce is committed to be available assisting businesses through these challenging times. We are very grateful that we have the continued partnership with the City of Madison to aid us in the fulfillment of this mission.”

Jessica Cavazos, President and CEO of Latino of Chamber of Commerce shared, “We are grateful to the City of Madison for its continued support of the Latino business ecosystem. Through the past several weeks, we have continued communication on how to help support our businesses during this pandemic. The additional financial support will give us leverage to help our businesses re-engage in best practices during the recovery process and help in their long-term sustainability.”

The City currently funds several business development programs that provide direct financial assistance to entrepreneurs, and additional resources are available from the County, State and Federal governments. Many times communities of color do not take advantage of these resources, at no blame to themselves. We must ensure that knowledge of these resources spreads through all of our communities. It is our privilege to continue our support for the invaluable work of the Black and Latino Chambers of Commerce, especially during such a pivotal time for our small business community. We are committed to increasing our collaborative efforts with organizations working day-to-day with communities of color, making sure all entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs are accessing city opportunities to maintain their business.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to patronize the small businesses assisted by these organizations and others as soon as it is safe to do so!

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