MON AM News: Groundbreaking held for Black Business Hub; Talking Trade with Mike Dankler of Michael Best Strategies

— The head of the Urban League of Greater Madison says “help is on the way” for minority entrepreneurs now that construction has begun on the Black Business Hub. 

“We have to take some risks, because we know that it is time that significant investments be made with Black and brown people here in south Madison,” Urban League President and CEO Ruben Anthony said Friday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility. “It’s time for us to bet on Black and brown businesses.” 

He said the League has raised $17.5 million of its $25 million fundraising goal for the 76,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in spring 2023. 

Once it’s up and running, the Black Business Hub will be providing business planning and expansion grants and loans, while helping forge connections between local startups and investor networks in the state, Anthony said. That’s in addition to offering coaching and mentoring, as well as shared services such as marketing and human resources. 

A key element of the new facility is the Black Business Hub Accelerator Program, which will provide grants and loans underwritten by the Urban League, culturally relevant technical business support services, and a “place-based network” of Black entrepreneurs, according to the project website. 

“Together, we’re going to make history,” Anthony said. “We’re going to build an economic development engine right here in south Madison that will continue to bear economic fruit for multiple generations.” 

He listed goals project leaders have set out to achieve by 2025, including helping at least 100 businesses expand through the hub, providing at least $3 million in grants and loans, and creating at least 50 full-time jobs within the businesses located in the new building. 

Also at the event, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes noted “not everybody has the same access to the resources” needed to own and operate a business. He called on attendees to support Black- and minority-owned businesses “not just with your wallets, but also with your voices.” 

He was joined by Gov. Tony Evers, who said local communities benefit “almost instantaneously” from investments in small businesses. 

“Small businesses are more likely to buy their supplies locally, hire locally and give back to their communities,” he said. 

Watch a video of the ceremony here: 

See more project details: 

— In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Michael Best Strategies trade expert Mike Dankler provides an update on the latest sanctions against Russia and the effect on trade and commodity prices. 

“One area where the U.S. and EU and others haven’t really gone the full way is on energy,” he explained. “EU is just so reliant on Russian oil and gas that they can’t go too far yet without hurting themselves.” 

Dankler said it’s uncertain how long it will take for certain sanctions on Russia to have a real impact on the war in Ukraine. He noted long-term export controls are expected to impact Russian factories, while banking sanctions recently announced by the United States “make a default almost imminent.” 

“How does that impact Russia’s ability to prosecute its war? That’s kind of the main question,” he said. “And the secondary question of, what does Vladimir Putin consider a win?” 

He also points to “wide-ranging” impacts on global supply chains, though he noted Russia isn’t as interconnected with western supply chains as a country like China, for example. But because both Ukraine and Russia are major producers of wheat, he warned of potential famines or food supply shortages. 

“We haven’t seen that yet but it’s definitely a concern,” he said. 

Watch the show here: 

— Union workers at Vollrath Company’s Sheboygan facility have reportedly agreed to a five-year labor contract, ending a strike that began last week.

Over 265 members of United Auto Workers Local 1472 went on strike over “issues related to wages and the equitable elimination of tiers,” a release from the union shows. The strike began after 74 percent of the union members rejected an initial contract proposal. 

Rob Kilgore, president and bargaining chair of UAW Local 1472, said the workers wanted “a fair contract for our members, their families, and those who depend on them.” 

Vollrath Manufacturing’s services include metal fabrication, plastic injection molding, metal stamping, engineering and design consulting and more. 

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

See the UAW release: 

— Workers at a Starbucks in Appleton have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election, a regional board of Workers United announced. 

It’s the fourth Starbucks store in the state to seek to unionize, following efforts at locations in Madison, Oak Creek and Plover. The release from The Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board of Workers United shows the workers in Oak Creek and Plover are set to vote in their elections this month. 

The board says an “overwhelming majority” of workers at the Appleton store signed union authorization cards. Its release includes a section of a letter they sent to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Friday. 

“Over the past year, it has become apparent that the growth of the company is put above all else, even at the expense of those who are meant to grow with it,” they wrote. “Within the past months this has become ever more apparent. With hours slashed and rising costs of living impacting us simultaneously, many partners have been struggling to stay afloat.” 

See the release:

— DATCP has identified another case of the infectious strain of avian influenza spreading in the state. 

The latest case was found in a non-commercial poultry flock in Racine County with about 200 birds. This marks the third county in which highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, has been found in domestic flocks. Earlier cases were found in Jefferson and Rock counties. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources recently announced HPAI was found among wild bird populations in five counties: Dane, Columbia, Grant, Milwaukee and Polk. 

In hopes of curbing the spread of this virus, DATCP is asking poultry owners to move their birds indoors when possible to limit contact with wild birds. And the agency is suspending all poultry shows, exhibitions and swap meets statewide through the end of May. 

See the release: 


# Lifting ACT requirement for UW System applicants shows little impact on diversity

# ‘A big day’: Black Business Hub breaks ground on the south side

# Fetch Rewards CEO Schroll says $2.5B Madison startup still growing, exit not near: Q&A



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– State ag teachers earn Kohl Fellowship awards


– Help shape deer management in Wisconsin


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– Mayo researcher: Check with doctor for booster advice


– Bonuses, higher wages brought in workers, but that can’t last


– Harley-Davidson launches sweepstakes contests ahead of 120th anniversary celebration

– Saputo closes on purchase of Franklin site for cheese factory

– Area manufacturers come together to draw workers from Illinois


– Public-private partnership helped drive Milwaukee’s unsheltered homeless population to lowest in the nation


– Oshkosh contract under fire from House Democrats


– See Brookfield mansion with elevator, golf simulator listed at $6 million: Open House

– MLG Capital raises $350 million to close out real estate fund, plans another to launch in May

– Hammes embarks on estimated $18M project in Rio Grande Valley of Texas

– U.S. Venture remains committed to downtown Appleton for its new corporate headquarters


– MSOE to build softball stadium on its downtown campus


– Betty Brinn Children’s Museum drops plans to be part of new $240M public museum project

– Betty Brinn Children’s Museum drops plans for co-location at new Milwaukee Public Museum

– Festa Italiana canceled for the third year in a row


– Environmental groups seek revocation of DNR permit for Cardinal-Hickory project


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

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