The Entrepreneurship Hub emerges out of residents’ stories about informal economic activities and cooperative business enterprises in public housing communities and seeks to sustain this remarkable heritage. The Entrepreneurship Hub leverages one of our community’s greatest resources: the history of innovative entrepreneurship that has been used as a strategy of surviving and thriving for public housing residents, low-income people, and communities of color. The Hub addresses the systemic and structural barriers to entrepreneurship and aims to a create a robust infrastructure to support a new generation of small businesses and cooperatives by public housing residents through the following programs:

  1. Open Hours, a pro bono consulting initiative, offers free drop-in business support for public housing residents provided by Chicago-based professionals, including attorneys, accountants, designers, etc.

  2. Students of our Social Justice Business School will learn the history and practice of starting and sustaining small businesses and cooperatives; how these businesses have and continue to fit into broader economic and political systems in cities; and discuss their community’s history of resilience, resistance, and innovation.

  3. After the Museum’s opening, public housing resident entrepreneurs will collectively own and operate a cooperative shop at the Museum’s site in place of traditional museum retail.

  4. A significant permanent oral history archive will inspire the next generation of self-sufficient entrepreneurs and improve perceptions of residents of public housing.

As a part of the initiative’s pilot run, the Museum and Mikva Challenge Foundation CHA youth have collaborated to create our first t-shirts! The young creatives worked with community activist and NPHM Artist in Residence, William Estrada, to brainstorm designs for t-shirts representing the Museum, as well as screen-printing the t-shirts in our offices. All profits collected from shirt sales will be shared between the youth and the Museum.

If you are interested in learning more about the Hub’s initiatives, contact the Entrepreneurship Hub Coordinator, Cleopatra Watson at