Dozens of businesses, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce celebrate “MBCC Means Business” graduation

Business owners, mentors and Madison Black Chamber of Commerce staff celebrated the MBCC Means Business graduation last week. Photo by Omar Waheed.

It’s only the beginning in their long journeys as the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce’s MBCC Means Business cohort graduated from the program Thursday night.

More than 30 businesses participated in the fall MBCC Means Business program over the past three months. The program helps current and future entrepreneurs through developing their business or business ideas to improve their respective plans. The graduation took place at StartingBlock, 821 E. Washington Ave., a startup hub, where the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), friends and families came out to celebrate the achievements of the cohort as they move on to the next steps of their entrepreneurial journey.

The graduation also featured pitches from businesses involved with MBCC Means Business, as well as the Chamber’s business incubator and accelerator programs. The pitch is something that Dan Guerra, an instructor in the programs, has drilled into the students for its importance.

“We’ve been on a journey together for the last three months, but we’re on a journey together that will go beyond the next three months and go well beyond the two years that we committed to work with you,” Guerra said.

Dan Guerra addresses the MBCC Means Business cohort. Photo by Omar Waheed.

Among the pitches from the graduation, Cynthia Dorenzo with Mz. Thick 4 U Clothing & Apparel, Gloria Reyes with Badge Recruiter and Willie Wright with Artist Collective spoke on their respective business ventures.

Dorenzo’s Mz. Thick 4 U Clothing & Apparel, 5315 Wall St. Suite 125, is a shop that provides affordable and fashionable plus-size clothing that aims to combat issues with finding quality, stylish clothing for bigger sizes.

“We want to revolutionize the fashion industry by empowering women all over the continent and all over the world,” Dorezno said. “I want to allow plus sized women to feel secure and confident in their own skin.”

Reyes’ Badge Recruiter aims to fill law enforcement gaps in recruitment and hiring by streamlining the application process with culturally competent officers to serve their communities.

“Today we are experiencing a law enforcement workforce crisis. It is a challenge to recruit officers,” Reyes said. “As a law enforcement officer — a former law enforcement officer — I know how important it is to have culturally competent, well-qualified officers that represent the communities that they serve.”

Wright’s Artist Collective is a one stop shop for getting artists the tools they need to thrive. His business matches artists with marketing, photography, videographers, venues and just about everything else an aspiring artist needs to make their passion a reality.

“We all love music and we probably all know a starving, working-hard artist who spends their time trying to figure out what’s next for their career. Artist Collective wants to do that for them,” Wright said.Fall applications for MBCC Means Business are currently open for its next cohort. Applications can be found on the chamber’s MBCC Means Business’s website.