After an ambitious fundraising campaign the African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) of Wisconsin has met their $1 million goal to open a 4,000-square-foot coworking space in Milwaukee.
Construction on The Legacy Co-Working and Innovation Space is expected to finish at the end of this month at 1920 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
The former heavy equipment warehouse will now feature 12 coworking spaces for members, onsite resources such as a business development consultant, a kitchen incubator, and a mini cafe with coffee and baked goods.
The kitchen has six prep tables and two stoves that can be rented out in blocks of two to four hours, and a manager that can aid restaurant entrepreneurs on a daily basis.
“We want to make sure people have the resources they need to be successful,” AACC president and CEO Ossie Kendrix told Madison365.
The Legacy will also feature eight spaces for alumni of Rise, a 14-week program for Black entrepreneurs to build their businesses in Milwaukee. The program covers topics such as finance, marketing, branding, pitching and building a business plan.
Although the coworking spaces won’t be available until February at the earliest, Kendrix said after interviewing African American entrepreneurs he knew people were in need of a collaborative environment.
“One of the things they said they needed is being around entrepreneurial energy,” he said.
“It makes them feel like they are not on an island alone and that there is a network working for them.”
In December, the AACC will move into the historical building downtown from their 1,300 square foot location on Wisconsin Avenue. And although the offices will have the same amount of space the resources, programming and presence of the AACC will expand, being able to host about 24 entrepreneurs at any one time.
Partners such as Wells Fargo and American Family Insurance’s AFI Dream Foundation, which provided the final gift to help the campaign reach its goal, will provide support, programming and workshops as well, Kendrix said.
The space will also generate revenue through the cafe and private offices; all the funds will go toward supporting the mission of the nonprofit AACC.
“Entrepreneurs love that means of feeling support, feeling connected and being engaged with opportunities to continue to elevate their business,” he said.