Exact Sciences today announced the company is committing $500,000 to support construction of the Urban League of Greater Madison’s Black Business Hub (The Hub) on the city’s south side. Exact Sciences also plans to lease space in the building to connect with job seekers and community organizations, adding the company’s name to a growing roster of public and private sector tenants at The Hub.
“Few organizations are as consistent and persistent as the Urban League when it comes to improving lives and creating economic opportunity,” said Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences. “The Hub will offer formal and informal programming, create new supply chain opportunities for area businesses, and give entrepreneurs a place to call home. We cannot wait to see it open.”
Scheduled to break ground in the coming weeks, The Hub fills an economic development void in the city by creating a place devoted to nurturing, accelerating, and supporting Black and other entrepreneurs of color. The 4-story, 76,000 square foot state-of-the-art center will include: retail and office spaces, co-working and meeting space, a rentable commercial kitchen, and business assistance and mentoring programs.
“The Hub ushers in a new era for Black and minority-owned business development in Madison,” said Dr. Ruben Anthony, Urban League of Greater Madison president and CEO. “It will be a vibrant cultural, business, and community site that invites people to come together to support new businesses and build greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities we all share.”
Equally important, The Hub will also transform opportunities for entrepreneurs by providing new funding sources via loans and grants underwritten by the Urban League of Greater Madison.
“When starting out, businesses need access to capital and help getting things off the ground,” said Anthony. “The Black Business Accelerator Program is a fund of over $1 million to provide grants and loans to help populations that are historically under-represented within Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Exact Sciences is a longtime collaborator and supporter of the Urban League. Since 2018, the organizations have jointly operated a job training program which provides participants with career coaching, skills training, and hands-on experience to prepare them for roles within Exact Sciences’ laboratory and customer care teams. To date, more than 120 people have graduated from the program, with more than 80% receiving job offers.
Last month, the Urban League announced that it had $3 million remaining to raise by the end of the year to ensure construction can begin on time, and up to $8 million to eliminate the need for any loans to construct The Hub. With the commitment from Exact Sciences, the Urban League now has less than $1.9 million remaining to meet its goal of being able to begin construction before the ground freezes.