Indianapolis Urban League

The Entrepreneurship Center Program

The Entrepreneurship Center

The Indianapolis Urban League (IUL) Entrepreneurship Center was launched in July 2021 to assist entrepreneurs with developing, launching, sustaining, and growing minority small businesses in Central Indiana and surrounding counties.

See the Pen Small banner by Connor Bryant (@connorjbryant) on CodePen.

The Entrepreneurship Center provides future and current small business owners with access to in-person and virtual workshops, short-term industry recognized training credentials, individualized coaching, and support to leverage resources, maximize revenue, reduce costs, increase profitability, and create job opportunities.

The desired impact of the IUL Entrepreneurship Center includes access to start-up costs, capital and opportunities for business expansion, identifying emerging business opportunities, contract procurement assistance, and building linkages with small business owners, industry sectors, private, public, and nonprofit resources to support entrepreneurs creating wealth and economic stability.

The Indianapolis Urban League Entrepreneurship Center Program, to date, has achieved the following since 2021:

  • Enrolled 196 small businesses in six (6) cohorts
  • Awarded over $66,000 in IUL Helping Hand Grant Funds
  • Provided over $50,000 to 175 entrepreneurs participating in the IUL Entrepreneur & Small Business Fair in 2022 and 2023
  • Program participants were awarded over $398,501 in other grant and funding support
  • Conducted over 75 small business workshops
  • Conducted over 2,893 total small business counseling hours
  • 20 small business owners earned industry-recognized training credentials

See the Pen Services by Connor Bryant (@connorjbryant) on CodePen.

Future and current small business owners are provided with individualized counseling in core knowledge areas such as accounting, branding, marketing, digital and social media, writing a business plan, management training, skills development, and accessing financing and/or contract opportunities to name a few.

Future and current small business owners are provided with the tools needed to identify skills gaps and the resources and support to develop and improve these skills.  Subject matter experts and those with a specific skill related to a task are considered having “hard skills,” and those demonstrating flexibility, problem solving, decision making, and patience are considered having “soft skills.” To be successful in business, you must have a balance of both hard and soft skills, and the skills development resources offered will help you further develop these necessary tools.

Entrepreneurs are provided with access to free short-term industry recognized training credentials and supportive services needed to launch or further expand small businesses and job skills training in high-demand industry sectors.  Earning a training credential is considered a “technical” or “hard” skill and is highly desired by individuals hoping to grow their business or be considered an expert in their field or industry.  Certifications are also highly in-demand with prospective clients and prospective business partners.

Entrepreneurs are provided with assistance identifying and addressing financial and basic needs barriers preventing small businesses from being launched, sustained, or expanded.  Basic needs barriers includes low-to-moderate income, unemployment, underemployment, high school dropout, basic skills deficiencies, homelessness, transportation, child care, addiction, convictions/incarcerated or system impacted, and survivors of domestic violence.  The IUL Entrepreneurship Center will provide wrap-around services and support to address basic needs barriers to prevent an interruption in successful program launch or expansion.

Eligible entrepreneurs are offered up to six-weeks of paid on-the-job training with an IUL Preferred Employer after successfully earning select short-term industry recognized training credentials.  The externship will allow the entrepreneur to build solid work relationships and networks, and apply the skills and knowledge learned during training in an effort to enhance the knowledge and expertise needed to successfully launch, sustain or expand small business opportunities.

The IUL Entrepreneurship Center has identified topical areas for prospective small business owners, as well as information relevant to current small business owners in various stages of development for African-Americans and other people of color.  Only Entrepreneurship Center Program participants are eligible to register for these monthly seminars.  Facilitators represent government, private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Cohort #8 will be held online and successful program completers will be eligible for branding, micro-grants, trainings, marketing, mentoring, website development, technical assistance, purchasing equipment and supplies, mentoring, and networking opportunities upon successful completion of the cohort.

The online applications will be available from Monday, July 15, 2024  through Friday, August 16, 2024 and successful completion of the application and assessment DOES NOT guarantee program enrollment.  All selected participants will be notified via email   The IUL strongly encourages all applications be completed prior to the posted deadline.

Pre-Venture: Ideology and Existence Stage
This stage includes those that are contemplating starting a small business and those that have registered their small business with the state, but have been in business less than two years.

Cohort 8 applications will be accepted Monday, July 15 through Friday, August 16th.

  • Click here to complete the application.
  • Click here to complete the assessment.

Early Growth Stage
This stage includes those that have registered their small business with the State of Indiana, have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and have been in operation two-five years.

Cohort 8 applications will be accepted Monday, July 15 through Friday, August 16th.

  • Click here to complete the application.
  • Click here to complete the assessment.

Expansion & Maturity Stage
This stage includes those that have registered their small business with the State of Indiana, have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and have been in operation five+ years.

Cohort 8 applications will be accepted Monday, July 15 through Friday, August 16th.

  • Click here to complete the application.
  • Click here to complete the assessment.

All admitted Entrepreneurship Center participants will complete assessments during their enrollment in the program.  The purpose of the assessments is to determine each participant’s existing knowledge, interests, needs and aptitudes, participant and instructor self-evaluation, content delivery, and ensure that instructional, performance and program goals are being met.

Assessments conducted upon admission into IUL Entrepreneurship Center include:

  • 360 Degree Business Leadership Assessment
  • Business Idea Assessments
  • Indiana Career Exploration Assessment
  • Organizational Assessment for Existing Businesses
  • Personality Characteristics of Successful Business Assessment
  • Self-Assessment for Start-Up Businesses
  • Strategic Planning for Existing Businesses Assessment

The IUL Entrepreneur Center offers monthly virtual “One-Hour Workshops” virtually to anyone considering starting their own business.  These workshops will help future entrepreneurs have a basic understanding of the processes, expectations and planning involved in launching and sustaining a successful small business.  These workshops are free and open to the public monthly, and are not a prerequisite to enrollment into the IUL Entrepreneurship Center Program.

COMMUNITY  WORKSHOPS: 

Join our free entrepreneur learning community.

Workshops:

Self Publishing Ig Graphic 3.24.24 (1)

May 7, 2024: Self-Publishing Workshop
Join Shar’ron Mason, owner of Thoughts 2 Print Press, who will lead you step-by-step through the self-publishing process and provide tips and tools for becoming a successful author. She has published 10+ books/journals and supported many others in their publishing journey.
Get ready for this engaging lunch and learn workshop.

May 22, 2024: The Pros and Cons of Starting a Successful Trucking Business
Learn the of starting a trucking business including the minimum requirements to get started in this lucrative field.  You’ll hear from industry experts, including those with significant CDL experience the challenges they faced securing their CDL license entering the industry with limited or no previous CDL driving experience.

Quickbooks Workshop 9.22.23

June 14, 2024: QuickBooks Workshop
Join like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners for this free community QuickBooks Workshop hosted by the Indianapolis Urban League Entrepreneurship Center Program. All attendees will learn how to manage their business finances in this hands-on workshop facilitated by Kari Johnson, Penny Tracker, LLC.

Complimentary continental breakfast and parking are provided.

Park in the Indianapolis Urban League parking lot off of St. Clair Street.

August 7, 2024: Grant Writing for Intermediate Grant Writers
9:00 am – 1:00 pm | Complimentary continental breakfast, lunch and parking provided.

Please review the prerequisites for this class before registering.
Intermediate
– 3-4 years grant writing experience
– Successfully written and secured multiple grants between $100,000-$999,999
– Determining the program or agency grant needs
– Identifying viable grant opportunities
– Using correct grant terminology
– Reviewing the grant requirements and determining if the grant aligns with the program or agency
– Preparing the Proposal Summary and Organizational Narrative
– Preparing the Purpose and Needs Statements
– Establishing grant timelines
– Securing letters of support
– Preparing a basic budget
– Reviewing and preparing other required attachments (ex.: cover letters, letters of support, etc.)
– Quarterly, year-end, and close-out reports

August 21, 2024: The Challenges of Owning a Restaurant or Catering Business
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Complimentary dinner and parking provided.

This evening workshop will be held in-person at the Indianapolis Urban League, 777 Indiana Avenue

Meet with current owners  caterers to learn the challenges many faced when opening a or catering business.  Learn why some  close their doors after a year, while others stay in business for generations. You’ll also learn the requirements for Indiana caterers, including using an “approved kitchen” the appropriate catering license(s) certifications.

 

September 17, 2024: Self-Publishing Workshop
9:00 am – 11:30 am | Complimentary continental breakfast and parking provided.

Join Shar’ron Mason, owner of Thoughts 2 Print Press, who will lead you step-by-step through the self-publishing process and provide tips and tools for becoming a successful author. She has published 10+ books/journals and supported many others in their publishing journey.
Get ready for this engaging lunch and learn workshop.

October 11, 2024: QuickBooks Workshop
9:00 am – 3:00 pm | Complimentary continental breakfast, lunch, and parking provided.

Join like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners for this free community QuickBooks Workshop hosted by the Indianapolis Urban League Entrepreneurship Center Program. All attendees will learn how to manage their business finances in this hands-on workshop facilitated by Kari Johnson, Penny Tracker, LLC.

Complimentary continental breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided.

Park in the Indianapolis Urban League parking lot off of St. Clair Street.

November 20, 2024: Overcoming Financial Challenges as an Entrepreneur During the Holidays
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm | Complimentary dinner and parking provided.

This evening workshop will be held in-person at the Indianapolis Urban League, 777 Indiana Avenue

Learn ways to overcome financial stress during the holidays, including ways to limit your holiday debt.  Meet with retail entrepreneurs who rely on the holidays to boost their yearly revenue, while learning budgeting tips to sustain in competitive markets.  You’ll also learn tips to help you recover from holiday spending.

December 4, 2024: Grant Writing for Advanced Grant Writers
9:00 am – 1:00 pm | Complimentary continental breakfast, lunch, and parking provided.

Please review the prerequisites before registering for this class.
Advanced
– A minimum of 5 years grant writing experience
– Successfully written and secured multiple grants of over $1 million
– Demonstrated a solid understanding of the intermediate grant writing skill set (see above)
– Understanding the funders’ “funding” criteria
– Facts and Stats
– Identifying viable grant opportunities, including federal
– Types of grant proposal formats
– Matching funders with projects
– Researching and writing the major accomplishments section
– Developing your grant writing portfolio
– Ways to identify and secure relevant data for each grant proposal (ex.: Target Population Served)
– Avoiding common grant writing mistakes that cause you to lose points
– Developing the budget section, including budget narrative
– Leveraging multiple grant funding streams
– Grant writing as a career

Proud Sponsors of the Entrepreneurship Center Program: