Small Business Development Program
After two years of surveying our client base, we found we can not only provide educational supports, mentorship, and other “standard” resources, but we can provide much more. We understand our target demographic of entrepreneurs and dreamers are very non-traditional when determining the type of entrepreneur they are. With a non-traditional entrepreneur, we knew we needed to find a non-traditional way to make a difference in their lives and businesses. With the information we collected, and tons of meetings with our partner (CHES Inc.) we created this idea of a “pop-up” retail space in the urban core, which provides incubator style programing with low lease rates, short-term lease periods, and an educational component teaching underserved entrepreneurs while allowing the opportunity to show practical application in running their businesses. From there, we created Generating Legacy through Urban Entrepreneurship or G.L.U.E. for short. Our project provides entrepreneurs a “lab” environment to put the weekly lessons learned; to work. By closing the gap and providing an affordable brick and mortar, our clients will learn how to run a brick and mortar store, receive soft skill training to help navigate traditional business roadmaps, and get resources that support medium to long term growth.
There are various groups that will benefit from this project. The underserved entrepreneurs, families of the entrepreneurs, potential employees of the businesses, and the surrounding urban community. Our project provides an opportunity for real world learning for a population segment that is not traditionally considered in entrepreneurial eco-systems. With education, support, eco-systems in pace, it makes the opportunity to obtain gains in generational wealth obtainable.
G.L.U.E. consist of a brick and mortar space for 10 entrepreneurs to lease for short terms, low lease rates, providing an opportunity for the businesses to have a space to build out of, an opportunity to build personal/business credit, receive mentorship from more established business owners, and other various benefits. Along with the brick and mortar space, we require all participants to enroll and participate in a 8 week business development program (incubator), where various portions of business development is covered, including but not limited to accounting for small businesses, branding/marketing, retailing 101, and other soft skill components helping teach our co-horts how to effectively function and compete as a business owner in the 21st century.
In order to participate in the program we are hosting a pitch competition, where there are two rounds. Round one is an application and video submission. We are asking for basic information in the first round via the application, including the name of the business, background on the business owners, why the business was started, and what are the goals of the business. In the video we are looking to see the business in action, and learn more about the goals/vision of the business. Round two is a live interview/pitch with the owners of the business in a pitch format. The panelist are current business owners, and community leaders. Our goal here is to validate the business idea, and to get community feedback. There will be feedback provided to the final round participants prior to the pitch competition, and a mentor assigned to assist with any minor updates/changes that are necessary to make a good impression.
There will be 10 winners that will secure a space, which includes a 10 x 10 lock secured retail space, access to the co-working space, a mentor throughout the program, 8 week business development program, free wifi, free coffee bar, printing services, and access to a conference room. The 5 runners up will also be awarded a temporary holding space (kiosk) along with access to the co-working space, a mentor throughout the program, 8 week business development program, free wifi, free coffee bar, printing services, website/e-commerce portal, marketing services, and access to a conference room.
The program is 8 weeks, however space extensions will be allowed for entrepreneurs whom are working towards securing their own brick and mortar, through purchase or lease options. The extensions will not extend past 12 months, in respect to other potential co-hort participants. We will also provide assistance to all of our co-hort graduates, in mentorship, resources, and by assisting them in securing their own space once they are ready to do so.
Lastly, once the first co-hort has completed the program, we will assist in developing the G.L.U.E alumni network where graduates of the program will be able to stay connected, network, and expand their businesses by maintaining these relationships, and growing together.