Center @ Sixth helps launch black-owned businesses at the farmers market

Marquas Ashworth doesn’t plan to break ground on his Center @ Sixth project until spring, but he’s already sending two businesses through the incubator program.

Once completed, the building at 1714 Sixth Ave. will house a non-profit organization that helps black and brown entrepreneurs build their businesses with the help of professionals in the field such as lawyers, accountants and planners.

To help test the concept, he worked with Nadia La Baker and Jambo African Cuisine, helping both launch stands at the downtown Des Moines farmers market. Ashworth said the concept seems to be working, and the two owners regularly sell out their products every Saturday.

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“It’s been great watching it work,” he said, adding, “It’s more fun than making money, making music, making whiskey.” Beyond developing Center @ Sixth, Ashworth is a hip-hop artist, producer and founder of Media Fresh Records and creator of Ziyad Rye small batch whiskey.

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