The Madison Public Market’s MarketReady Program provides training and micro-grants for new and existing small businesses interested in becoming Madison Public Market vendors. The application period for the first cohort of participants closed on July 1, 2017. Applications received after the deadline are added to a waitlist for the program. Anyone in the 8-county Madison region interested in starting or scaling up a small, local business is welcome to apply. This includes Dane, Columbia, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock and Sauk counties. Priority is given to City of Madison residents.

Guided by the mission of the Public Market, priority is given to applicants that belong to populations facing historic barriers to entrepreneurship, including low income populations, people of color, immigrants, women, displaced workers, veterans and LGBTQ individuals. Although MarketReady’s focus is supporting potential Public Market vendors, the program may also provide a springboard to other opportunities.

MarketReady focuses on businesses that sell locally-produced food, but arts, crafts, body care and other items produced locally are also encouraged. The Madison Public Market will not be a producer-only market: producers can hire an employee to sell their products at their stall. MarketReady is open to supporting businesses that want to offer services at the Madison Public Market if these services support the mission of the market as a space for locally-produced goods.

The MarketReady Program is administered by the Northside Planning Council.

Services provided by MarketReady

  • One-on-one business consulting services

MarketReady participants have the opportunity to participate in monthly business consultations as needed.

  • One-on-one mentorship with a business coach

MarketReady participants will be connected to a mentor for business coaching. Together, they will use the MarketReady Road Map to identify which steps the participant has completed and what resources are needed to help them to move forward.

  • Peer networking and support events

Small groups of participants will meet regularly for peer-to-peer check-ins. These events will provide an opportunity to receive support and advice from others completing the program. Several times a year, all participants will meet for peer networking events, including a bus tour to visit Public Markets or co-packing facilities in the Midwest.

  • Additional technical assistance through referrals to local educational and financial resources

Participants may receive referrals to a variety of other educational classes, workshops and events that are specific to their business needs, including local financial services, such as loans and crowd-funding opportunities.

  • Access to MarketReady micro-grants

In addition to the above services, some participants may receive MarketReady micro-grants for training, licensing, permitting, product testing, marketing, startup ingredients and facility rental costs. These grants will be awarded by an advisory committee of community leaders and business owners. Five participants may receive further funding to support their transition into the Madison Public Market or other business endeavor. These grants will be awarded by the City of Madison’s Public Market Development Committee.

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