Every year, Black Friday opens up the holiday shopping season and shoppers hit the town (or the computer) in full force. This year, Sabrina “Heymiss Progress” Madison is asking the community to commit to spending a portion of their shopping dollars with black-owned businesses right here in Madison at the first-ever Black Friday event with the Black Business Expo at The Village on Park on Nov. 25.

“I love to see all the energy and the networking at events like the Black Business Expo,” Madison tells Madison365. “This event is really about providing that space for black entrepreneurs to thrive and about giving the community an option to show up for black entrepreneurs.”

The purpose of the Black Business Expo-Black Friday Edition is to inform the community of black entrepreneurs and encourage residents to financially support these business owners.

Sabrina Madison
Sabrina Madison

“You’re really allowing black entrepreneurs to generate income and to meet new and potential customers,” Madison says. “We can talk about black entrepreneurs and black business owners, but if you’re not really doing it, they suffer … and places close up.”

The Black Business Expo-Black Friday edition will create opportunities for the greater community to support black business owners and service providers in a family friendly environment. It’s an excellent event for area African-American entrepreneurs, especially young people who might be timid about pursuing their dreams.

“Expos like this can encourage young people to look at what they are great at as another hustle,” Madison says. “I think it’s important that we talk to young people in that way and tell them that this thing that you’re great at, that you love, and that you’re brilliant at … this has the potential to generate income and that being an entrepreneur is a legitimate way of life and something that you can definitely do.

“It’s about telling young people that this thing you’re great at has potential and then putting them in places where they can network and give them the support they need,” she adds.

The Black Business Expo-Black Friday Edition is where you can find handmade Breea Butter, homemade Off the Block salsa, red carpet heels and handbags, and much more. All told, there will be more than 60 African-American vendors and entrepreneurs at the event.

“What I like are the new folks that we are getting out to the expo this year,” Madison says.

Damion, Reva, and Damion Jr. Catledge with Duke Austin (baby) of the Promethean Media Group at the previous Black Business Expo
Damion, Reva, and Damion Jr. Catledge with Duke Austin (baby) of the Promethean Media Group at the previous Black Business Expo

After presenting her first successful Black Business Expo this past July at the Urban League, Madison is hoping to build on that experience. “We really built a sense of community at that last expo. It wasn’t just one community, it was all kinds of communities that came together at that space,” she says. “That was a good feeling. We had vendors that day who sold out and were close to selling out, so that was good. There are some who are still selling to people they met there. They found new customers at the last expo.

“I could see how hungry the community was for something like this,” she adds. “Black entrepreneurs don’t get a lot of support. We continually have to provide a place and an avenue to offer that support.

14-year-old Ajani Carr
14-year-old Ajani Carr

Fourteen-year-old AJ Carr will be the youth motivational speaker at the event. He created the organization Building Bosses to teach the youth the importance of leadership, entrepreneurship, and service. He believes that one of the main reasons there is so much violence in the community is because there aren’t enough leaders. Through Building Bosses, he teaches the youth how to start their own businesses, as well as show them different ways they can actively participate in activities that will benefit their community.

“AJ is going to be great … and I’m so excited for the opportunity for our vendors at this event,” Madison says. “The Urban League Young Professionals will be there volunteering. Bria Brown will be capturing video of a couple of entrepreneurs and she’s also creating a hype video that will come out next week. She will be at the event doing her thing. A lot of people from the community are coming together for this event.”

Partners for the event include Madison365, Madison College-South, Adorable, and Madison Black Chamber of Commerce. It’s a family-friendly event that is free and open to the public. Gift wrapping will be done by Mary Wells.

“Mary Wells has been in this community all her life and she has a brother, Eric, who has an illness and it has taken a toll on his health and his financial situation,” Madison says. “So Mary will be gift-wrapping at the event for tips for her brother. If people have extra gift wrapping paper, bows, gift bags and other things, we could use them. Drop them off at the south campus.”

Mo' Betta Butter Cookies
Mo’ Betta Butter Cookies

The intent of the Black Business Expo is to bring attention and exposure to black entrepreneurs, clubs, organizations and service providers in the greater Madison area along with others from across Wisconsin and to create space for networking among black entrepreneurs. Supporting these business owners helps to support financial freedom in the black community.

“When we talk about ‘buy local’ here in Madison, we are way too often talking about primarily white folks and businesses,” Madison says. “You don’t think about the black person who makes soaps, for example. I think an event like this helps normalize including people of color in your buy local experience. It’s literally creating those spaces for black entrepreneurs to be successful. We always talk about ‘white allies’ in this city. This is a great chance to show up and support.”

But what if I’m already doing my part and wearing my post-election safety pin to show my support for marginalized people?

“You can wear your safety pin to the event, too, but just attach some dollars to it to spend at the expo,” Madison laughs. “People always complain about racial disparities in this town, so here is a space to come to and here are some people with some awesome products to buy … here’s your chance to show up.”

For more information about the Black Business Expo-Black Friday Edition, click here.