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Inaugural Black Business Awards to honor major contributors to Madison’s economy

The first-time event from the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce is focused on supporting and empowering local black business owners.

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The economic impact of black-owned businesses on Greater Madison will be on full display when the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce hosts its inaugural Black Business Awards Dinner Thursday, Feb. 22 from 5–8:30 p.m. at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel on the Capitol Square.

Established in 2006, the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce is a group of community members working to empower African-Americans to cultivate and expand entrepreneurship, and this first-time event is intended to recognize the economic contributions black businesses make on the local communities they serve.

Sixteen businesses are being honored during the inaugural awards festivities in the following categories:

Camille Carter is president of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce.

“One of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce’s goals is to support and empower black business owners, so what better way to do this than with an awards dinner,” says Camille Carter, president of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce.

Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with members of the business community and hear from renowned speakers like LaFollette grad and Shark Tank contestant Andrew Bentley, former Madison Black Chamber of Commerce President Aaron Perry, and Wisconsin State Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee).

Membership in the Madison Black Chamber has grown by more than 50% over the past two years, going from about 200 members in 2016 to 312 as of 2018. Integral in that growth and the exposure of local black-owned businesses has been the publication of the Black Business Directory, which was first released by the chamber on February 2016 and just received an updated printing.

“Black businesses are certainly economic contributors to Dane County,” notes Carter. “It’s estimated that the 312 businesses [in the directory] employ 800 people. We hope this awards dinner brings together the business community so everyone can see how these businesses are making a difference in the Greater Madison community.

“We’re fortunate to have two successful entrepreneurs who hail from Madison and a state representative who values what black businesses bring to the state of Wisconsin,” Carter adds. “We are looking forward to hearing how Andrew Bentley’s upbringing in Dane County has affected his life now as a business owner of Father Figure. Aaron Perry, founder of the Men’s Health Center, will share his entrepreneurial insight as he was also featured on national television, appearing on Megyn Kelly Today. Lastly, Jason Fields will talk about the state of black businesses in Wisconsin and how the government can partner with them moving forward.”

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