Entrepreneurship News Update
What is the Entrepreneurship Center Program?
Entrepreneurship Centers – a Signature Program of the National Urban League (NUL) – provide management counseling, mentoring and training services geared toward the development of management skills enabling minority entrepreneurs to obtain financing and /or contracts that support job creation and preservation. The Entrepreneurship Center Program goal is that minority entrepreneurs experience increased competitiveness and profitability, start up more businesses with higher survival rates, and break out to new markets and higher growth.
(In these locations and some other markets, community developers can apply for special loans for housing and facility projects through NUL’s Enterprise Community Loan Fund.)
How big is it?
The program has grown steadily since 2006, when five centers provided 1,272 hours of management counseling and 1,777 hours of business skills training to 1,164 clients. In 2010, nine centers provided 10,911 hours of counseling and 11,242 hours of training services to 5,938 entrepreneurs.
What have Entrepreneurship Center participants achieved?
A total of 8,435 business owners were served in 2011, receiving a combined 12,147 hours of individual counseling and 19,341 hours of business training. These services helped entrepreneurs to create or save 5,453 jobs and get $24,650,000 in new contracts and financing. By improving their business strategies, entrepreneurs like Lonnie Grayson in Cincinnati and Dr. Joi in Philadelphia are growing despite tough economic times. Click the links to read their stories: (1) Lonnie Grayson and (2) Dr. Joi.
In an informal survey of 31 clients of the Entrepreneurship Centers around the nation in July 2011, 77% said the quality of the management consulting and/or training provided through the National Urban League Entrepreneurship program was “excellent.”
Among the “most important benefits” of being clients of the Entrepreneurship Centers, they reported:
“It allowed me to overcome my fear of starting over as a business owner utilizing (my) strong success rate … as an employee in the corporate world.”
“The opportunity to get involved in the diversity program offered by the Urban League.”
“Gaining a better understanding of attaining my business dreams.”
“The contact(s) have be priceless, and it was a great networking avenue.”
“Feeling part of an entrepreneurship community.”
Who sponsors it?
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
Stonehenge Capital Corporation
Where are the centers?
How can I help?
Entrepreneurship Centers enlist local business mentors who help entrepreneurs develop skills. Centers also make appropriate referrals to local resources that provide management and technical assistance in the areas such as idea development, operations management, business plan development, marketing, procurement and financing. If you are a potential mentor or service provider, please contact the Center nearest you.
How can I get help?
Contact the Center nearest you to arrange an assessment of the type of help you need, and to register for group training sessions where you can build skills and learn about business opportunities.