Build Bronzeville

Build Bronzeville uses Bronzeville’s unique assets to restore commercial activity and revitalize our historic neighborhood. Through entrepreneurship, culinary cuisine, historic destinations, and environmental beautification, we’re joining with friends, neighbors, and partners to rebuild this historic Chicago community into the vibrant hub of Black culture and commerce it once was.

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Our Initiatives

Build Bronzeville is comprised of five closely-linked initiatives that merge social, economic, civic, and creative approaches to achieve comprehensive community development.

Through these initiatives, we embrace Bronzeville’s unique assets, including its people, culture, and location, and engage the local talent best able to leverage these invaluable resources to build financially and environmentally sustainable enterprises to serve the community.

Please follow this link to register as a client. Select “new client sign-up” on the left, and request Illinois SBDC at Build Bronzeville when prompted to select a Center.

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Announcing the new Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Build Bronzeville!

In line with SBDC network goals to offer one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing a wide variety of information and guidance, a new center was established as a part of Build Bronzeville initiatives. The SBDC at Build Bronzeville is committed to helping you sustain your business during this time, as you recover, and as we look ahead to business growth.
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Boxville is a seasonal marketplace open Wednesday afternoons, from 4-7 p.m, and Sundays from 12-4pm. Shipping containers become storefronts and a bike repair shops. Local and regional businesses set up shop to vend their wares, from fresh and prepared foods to clothing and jewelry. Music from the disc jockey fills the marketplace and the Neighborhood Square turns into a plaza filled with regulars and curious passersby.

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Bronzeville Incubator

The Incubator brings together ambitious first and second-stage entrepreneurs in the culinary, creative, and sustainability industries who share a commitment to community development and who value being a part of an enterprise wherein peers and mentors, education, and networking in these arenas converge. Entrepreneurs can learn from experts, use furnished resources, and network with one another while building their own thriving business.

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The Forum

When renovations are complete, The Forum will feature performing arts, entertainment, commerce, and social engagement. After a four-decade closure, this historic venue that once welcomed performers like Nat King Cole will become the cornerstone for local life in Bronzeville, and once again spark social, political, and economic development.

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Engage Bronzeville

Environmental improvements include initiatives for outdoor beautification like the Bronzeville Community Garden, located on the southeast corner of 51st and Calumet, 51st Street Trees, garden and bike paths, and the Wall of Peace and Love. In addition, the creation of functional green space in Green Line Farms and Greenhouse Box are sources for fresh, healthy foods for community residents and restaurant goers.

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A century ago, Bronzeville was the Chicago destination of the Great Migration, becoming the home to hundreds of thousands of Blacks fleeing oppression in the South. Commerce flourished, jobs were abundant, and innovations in music, literature, theater and beyond attracted people from across Chicago and defined America. It was the Black center of Chicago. Today, following decades of disinvestment and the exodus of three-quarters of its population, Bronzeville is marked with vacancy, blight, and crime.

The successful revitalization of Bronzeville necessitates an embrace of its unique assets, including its people, culture, and location, and the engagement of the local talent best able to leverage these invaluable resources to build financially and environmentally sustainable enterprises to serve the community.

Learn more about Bronzeville’s important history, and about Build Bronzeville’s unique vision for comprehensive revitalization.

Get Involved

It takes a commitment from and collaboration between community members, the business sector, government municipalities, and charitable foundations to bring each new concept to life. Our partners in revitalization are critical to Build Bronzeville’s success. Learn how you can help.

How to Help