First of its kind initiative designed to equip business owners with essential skills and elevate their entrepreneurial journey
On February 10, 2024, the Urban League of Northwest Indiana (ULNWI) will launch a new initiative in support of local entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. The Entrepreneurship Program, which is free to participants, was developed after a series of entrepreneurs reached out to the Urban League for advice, resources and guidance to start or grow their businesses. The first session will be held at the Urban League of NWI, 3101 Broadway in Gary from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
“The Urban League movement is nationally known for generating programs that support entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud, President and CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana. “We are honored and excited to introduce a program that is designed to arm entrepreneurs with tools for success.”
As more requests for assistance came in from entrepreneurs, Allen-McCloud sought the expertise of her board to assist with developing a concept and ultimately a curriculum for business owners in search of growth strategies. Leading the charge was Urban League board member Bahiyah Shabazz, a wealth-building expert and owner of Decimalytics, a financial and advisory firm.
“As we began to do research to develop the entrepreneurship program, it became evident that local businesses were applying for government grants and needed various skills and/or certifications in order to qualify for funding,” said Shabazz. “We also discovered amazing programs that other Urban League affiliates were already implementing from which we could benchmark our efforts.”
The Entrepreneurship Program will take place for 12 weeks on Saturdays. The curriculum will include classroom instruction coupled with “lunch and learn” sessions led by experts in various fields. Shabazz stated that this set-up was created in an effort to mix up the dynamic of the discussions.
The February 10th session will include information on how to register with the State of Indiana, creating a digital mailbox, registering for an EIN, business account management, the importance of accounting software and several other topics.
“I am extremely excited about the experience we are offering entrepreneurs in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties,” added McCloud. “They will be the first to participate in this venture, so we are eager to get their feedback and witness their growth and success as a result of this initiative.”
Currently, the program is being funded by a series of financial institutions and organizations who are donating funds and resources. Allen-McCloud indicated that the community is invited to make donations of any size to the program as well.
Entrepreneurs interested in participating can register on Eventbrite – “Steps for Starting a Business.” For more information about the program and to donate, call 219-887-9621.