The City of Gary hosted a “Celebration of Entrepreneurs” last week, at the Arthouse: A Social Kitchen, 411 E. 5th Avenue. A total of 17 graduates completed eight weeks of “New Start-up Business” workshops through the Gary Micro-Enterprise Initiative (GMI).
Prospective business owners who are Gary residents attended workshops held on Monday and Wednesday evenings each week at Arthouse. Workshop topics included: Business Entity/Structures, Components of Business Plan, Financial Management, Marketing Plan, Using Social Media for Start-up Companies, Business Insurance and Pitching Your Business.
The goal of GMI is to provide a road map for Gary residents as they journey toward business ownership. GMI provides instruction and direction and works with Gary residents to increase their knowledge in conducting business in the city. The GMI program is supported by the Department of Commerce/ Community Development Division with funding through the Legacy Foundation.
“GMI is an initiative that encourages residents to think about starting businesses or expanding their current business in a number of areas such as: retail, real estate, culinary, professional services,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.“We have heard great reviews from residents participating in the program.” The mayor added, those completing the program can also apply for small business loans through our partnership with First Financial Bank.
In March this year, the city of Gary partnered with First Financial Bank to establish a Micro-Loan pool of $100,000. The pool makes available small business loans to GM graduates. The loans are doled out in $10,000 increments and are renewable annually.