The Madison Alliance for Black Economic Empowerment’s “ResourceFULL Black Businesses” event tonight will be all about bridging the gap between black business needs and the resources that can help them. It will be about connecting black entrepreneurs to each other and to the funding, expertise and mentoring they need to reach the next level in their business, says Eric Upchurch, founder of Madison Alliance for Black Economic Empowerment. Upchurch believes that black communities have all of the ingredients necessary to thrive in this economy.

“We call it ResourceFULL because it’s basically looking at it like we got what we need within our community to build our collective resources and to help each other to thrive,” Upchurch tells Madison365, putting the emphasis on the “full.” “So what we do at the event is we connect the black businesses to business services and resources – so we’re talking about your WBIC, SBA, Score, Synergy Co-Working, 100state, etc. – and more importantly we connect them to each other and we’re using the HIVE networking activity to foster meaningful connections among the entrepreneurs and within the resources so we are building relationships.”

Tonight at the Villager Mall from 5-8 p.m., the Madison Alliance for Black Economic Empowerment is going to make grants, up to $10,000, available to black businesses in attendance at the ResourceFULL Black Businesses event.

“The part that I’m most excited about is granting – for the second time this year – thousands of dollars to black entrepreneurs just for showing up and participating in the HIVE networking activity,” Upchurch says. “We have the HIVE mentality to combat the crab mentality. We have to practice doing things differently and here we have a chance to do that.”

Madison Alliance for Black Economic Empowerment (Mah-Bee) is a collective of black entrepreneurs, black professionals, and their allies focused on needs-based resource development for black entrepreneurs. Fiscally sponsored by Madison Regional Economic Partnership (MadREP), MABEE employs a lateral leadership model that activates the diverse expertise, skill sets and capacities of their leadership team and partners.

Jessica Cavazos , executive director of the Latino Chamber of Commerce, speaks to participants at the first ResourceFULL Black Businesses event earlier this year.

MABEE hosted a ResourceFULL Black Businesses event earlier this year back in April and there was nearly 80 entrepreneurs in front of 13 resources. They documented 266 connections, and granted $4,000 to entrepreneurs. Upchurch is aiming for even greater attendance and impacts for tonight’s event.

“Right now we’re looking at over 100 [entrepreneurs] so far. Hopefully, everybody turns out and in the in-between, we’ll be looking to do some of this on an individual basis, as well,” Upchurch says.

ResourceFULL Black Business will also be an opportunity to enjoy good food from Sweet Tea, good music and good people who are ready to connect and network. Attendees can sign up for a Business Needs Survey at the event to get connected to resources based on their business’s needs and qualify to receive a grant for their business

Black businesses in Madison are still failing at an alarming rate, Upchurch says, as they struggle to find patrons, to overcome hurdles and locate resources.

“We have a lot of great, brilliant enterprising black minds and we have plenty of people with ambition and drive, a problem is that a lot of black businesses that just don’t know about each other. So, we’ve partnered with the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce to present their Black Business Directory, the first of its kind in Madison. We’re also connecting black entrepreneurs to each other and giving them a great chance to network.”

ResourceFULL Black Businesses event in April

Madison Alliance for Black Economic Empowerment will have a lot of great resources in the house for the event including: USDA, MadREP, SCORE, Madison Development Corp, Latino Chamber of Commerce, 100 State, WWBIC, Intellectual Ratchet, WARF, Small Business Administration, SBDC Wisconsin, Feed Kitchen and more.

“This is a great event for people who want to come out and connect to enterprising black folks and learn about black businesses that are out there … or if you are an entrepreneur of color and you want to get connected to resources that are out there and maybe some funding. This is the place to be. You don’t want to miss it.

“Or if you’re a person who wants to find a way to be supportive to the black community, I think that this is one of the areas that you can form an alliance that is focused on economic empowerment.”

Interested in tonight’s ResourceFULL Black Businesses event? Click here.