Entrepreneurs to get help launching businesses

October 23, 2012
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Thirty entrepreneurs from Chicago’s West Side will be selected to participate in a one-year program and receive up to a $6,000 grant for start-up business expenses.

Participants will attend 15 weekly classes to develop a business plan, work with experienced business mentors each month for a year, and join a community of innovators on Chicago’s West Side. Students who successfully save $1,500 of their own income will receive matching funds – up to $6,000 – from Bethel New Life – a West Side faith-based community-building corporation – for a total of $7,500 toward business start-up costs, according to a press release.

“We’re working to build a vibrant economy on Chicago’s West Side, and we know small businesses are the key,” said Lori Vallelunga, Ph.D., president and CEO of Bethel New Life in the release “By equipping entrepreneurs who have good ideas for new businesses, together we will create critical jobs in our community.”

Start-up entrepreneurs who live and will locate their businesses on Chicago’s West Side (zip codes 60612, 60622, 60623, 60624, 60639, 60644, 60647, 60651, 60707) are eligible to apply.

“We expect to help launch twenty new businesses this year – including construction, culinary, landscaping, cleaning, or other businesses,” said Curtis Roeschley, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life in the release “Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is for serious entrepreneurs who have identified the area of business they want to pursue, but want guidance to minimize risk and maximize success.”

Interested applicants can attend an optional orientation workshop at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life, 1140 N. Lamon Ave.

· Tuesday, October 23 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

· Thursday, November 1 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

· Monday, November 5 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Click here to go to the site for more information and to apply. Applications are due no later than Nov. 7, 2012 but priority will be given to applications received by October 31st.

“Our community faces challenging economic conditions, but West Siders have long known that if there aren’t jobs, you create them,” Vallelunga said. “Our community has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and track record of small business development. We are excited to provide opportunities for new entrepreneurs to develop the skills and access the resources that they will need to build their business and to strengthen our community.”

The program is generously funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

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