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Professor Jennifer Madden wins another federal grant in support of urban economic development

  • Professor Jennifer Madden
    Johanna Heidorn ’13


Jacqueline Easley

August 24, 2018

Professor Jennifer Madden, assistant professor of management and marketing and director of the Master (MSc) of Business Design and Innovation Program, worked with the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development winning them a grant for $760,000 for El Mercado, a culturally-based public market with space for 21 microenterprises. This created a distribution outlet for food entrepreneurs, maker entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs providing services. El Mercado will also house additional offices and retail for other small businesses, community-serving organizations, a restaurant, and a commercial kitchen. El Mercado will be located in the densest population of Hispanic/Latino residents in Ohio with numbers over 22,000. 

According to Prof. Madden, “place matters, job creation is realizable, and Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. are growing at a rate that outpaces nearly every other ethnic group. However, research shows many Latino-owned businesses are not served well by the financial mainstream because they are deemed too risky or do not have a sufficient track record. These are real challenges as many Latino-owned businesses simply fail to register their business, and operate in the ‘shadow economy,’ which limits their ability to flourish.”

To further enable success, El Mercado businesses will also receive culturally appropriate and linguistically relevant training, are partnered with mentors, and have access to capital.

“I am very pleased with this work,” Prof. Madden continues. “Neighborhood residents with low-income are in need of viable and inclusive economic strategies that consider the community and personal barriers to self-sufficiency and facilitates their ability to thrive. This project will create/expand 60 sustainable employment/business opportunities that did not previously exist, attract additional investment, and improve quality of life.”  

“This is what it means to be a practitioner-scholar. This collaborative project is an evidence-based and research-informed national best practice for creating a community economic center that serves as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. This grant is also my 6th project in Ohio that has been funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”