MarketReady Program

A high priority of the Public Market is to spur the launch of new businesses, with a strong focus on populations that have historically faced barriers to entrepreneurship. Launched in 2017, MarketReady was developed among a partnership of organizations including the North Side Planning Council, FEED Kitchens, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, Black Chamber of Commerce, Latino Chamber of Commerce, Dane County UW Extension, the City of Madison and Madison Public Market Foundation.

The program is designed for entrepreneurs who either have a small existing business (food carts, catering, etc.) or have a strong idea for starting a business. MarketReady provides connections to resources, coaching, and business mentors with the goal of preparing many of these business owners for a successful launch in the Public Market.

The primary goal of MarketReady is to build equity through entrepreneurship and ensure that the Madison Public Market is truly diverse and welcoming to all people. Of the 30 entrepreneurs who have participated in this program:

83% are people of color, 62% are women and 33% are first generation immigrants

Visit Merchants to see a list of the Marketready Entrepreneurs

The first phase of the MarketReady program concluded in spring of 2020. Over the three years, these 30 business owners have sold their first products, invested in equipment, designed logos and websites, launched brick and motor locations, and expanded product lines. Collectively, participants added 15 jobs over the course of the program and developed valuable expertise to successfully grow their businesses.

At the completion of the program, 18 participants submitted detailed business plans for how they would like to operate in the Public Market. Five participants were selected to receive $19,000 each to support their successful operation in the Public Market.

In the coming years, the Madison Public Market Foundation will continue the MarketReady program, with a new cohort of diverse entrepreneurs. New MarketReady program participants will be building their businesses ready to take over Market space as Public Market Merchants grow and accelerate out of the Market.

A huge thank you to the Northside Planning Council for administering this successful program and congratulations to the entrepreneurs who participated!

It’s exciting to see the progress being made toward opening a public market in Madison–it’s been a long time coming! Not only will we have access to local foods year-round, but the vision and development of this market is truly inclusive and diverse, working with a number of women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs of color, from a diversity of cultural backgrounds. Food is such an important expression of culture and a means for connection–I’m looking forward to celebrating and connecting with our diverse community of inspiring and passionate food entrepreneurs at our public market! - Otehlia Cassidy, Madison Eats Food Tours

See What People are Saying