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.

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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.

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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.

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.

One-Hour Virtual Workshops

  • Personality Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneurs (Thurs., Aug. 26th from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • How to Start a Business (Thurs., Sept. 30th from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • Entrepreneur 101 (Thurs., Oct. 28th from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • Understanding Industry Sectors (Thurs., Nov. 18th from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • Identifying Small Business Opportunities (Thurs., Jan. 27th from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • What Is A Business and Marketing Plan? (Thurs., Feb. 24th from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • Social Media Pitfalls for Entrepreneurs (Thurs., Mar. 31st from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm)

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