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Madison Black Chamber graduates largest cohort to date from accelerator & incubator programs

Photo by Omar Waheed.

Another cohort graduated from the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce’s (MBCC) business accelerator programs, marking its largest round yet.

On April 25, the MBCC saw its latest round of businesses graduate from its Optimizer and Incubator programs with its largest cohort to date. Now, after 30 months since the programs’ start, MBCC will bring management of the programs in-house, as has always been planned. MBCC staff will take over for Dan Guerra, an entrepreneur and CEO of Altus, who has led the programs to this point.

“It’s like watching your child leave the house. I taught my last class last week. I think I almost cried,” Guerra said.

Dan Guerra. Photo by Omar Waheed.

Throughout the 30 months, 86 entrepreneurs have cycled through the Optimizer and Incubator programs. It’s typical to see a restaurant or beauty salon come through, but more creative ventures not seen in the usual entrepreneurship space have continuously found their way to MBCC’s programs.

One company, Dynamic Services, was the most recent addition and gave a pitch on the environmental waste and lack of innovation in aerospace. The company outlined striking figures in airplane operations such as the amount of gas needed to take off from a runway – enough to fill 700 cars,. Dynamic Services hopes to bring its services to address issues in air travel.

Other companies that gave a pitch include Beyond Words Productions, a videography and storytelling company founded by former journalist Jamie Perez, and Mizztique Boudoir, a boudoir photography company founded by Melonie Wright.

“What you’re seeing here is actually progression and development within the BIPOC entrepreneur space,” Guerra said. “That’s why we have to keep doing this. There’s nothing wrong with having a restaurant, hair stylist, cleaning service, but we have to aspire for more.”

Aspiring for more has been an integral step in helping entrepreneurs throughout the programs. In the most recent cohort, and the largest one to date, with 34 entering the Spring 2024 programs.

Key figures to date on impact show a 300% growth in revenue from July through September, 2613 hours within its shared services program and 30 regional mentors connected with participants.

The ventures and expansion of the MBCC’s programs have continued to increase with a vendor fair held at Madison College last week. At the vendor fair, more than half of businesses were from MBCC’s programs.