Spots available in entrepreneurship program

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Bethel New Life and The PrivateBank are accepting applications for the sixth class of their entrepreneurship training program.

The program is designed to help entrepreneurs on Chicago’s West Side operate their businesses successfully. The deadline to apply for one of the 30 available spots is 12 p.m. Friday, August 21.

The ETP is a free, 14-week program designed to help entrepreneurs in the early start-up stages of launching a business and established owners with businesses less than 5 years old. The main focus is on developing a written business strategy, including the feasibility of the business, the owner’s management and marketing plan, and a financial analysis.

The program is part of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life; through its previous five classes, 127 entrepreneurs have graduated, 41 new businesses have been launched, 14 others have been helped to expand, and  110 new jobs have been created.

The first class of entrepreneurs graduated in spring 2013.

Primary consideration will be given to residents of Chicago’s West Side who have plans to locate their business office within Austin, Humboldt Park, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, North Lawndale and South Lawndale.

Secondary consideration may be given to applicants from other nearby geographic locations or businesses that have the potential to positively impact a low to moderate income community.

“Transforming the West Side starts with access to opportunity. This is why business development is key to the West Side’s future,” Lori Vallelunga, Bethel New Life’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

“Thriving small businesses are the backbone of our economy and will drive West Side transformation. Many West Siders have an idea for a business or see themselves as a business owner. This program helps to connect them to their dream,” she said.

The PrivateBank will operate and manage a micro-business loan fund specifically for the program graduates. Loans will range from $10,000 for start-ups to a maximum of $25,000 for qualifying existing business, although in some cases a loan may exceed this amount. Final decisions for the micro-business loan will be made by the bank.

“It is a privilege to once again partner with Bethel New Life to help provide the tools for entrepreneurs to utilize as they work toward their dream of owning and running a successful business,” Larry D. Richman, president and CEO of The PrivateBank, said in a statement. “We are very proud of this program and the graduates, and we share their commitment to creating opportunities for, and promoting economic stability in, our communities.”

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