Entrepreneurs on Chicago’s West Side get Assistance Launching Businesses

A new program set up by Bethel New Life church and The PrivateBank looks to assist entrepreneurs on Chicago’s West Side with intensive training and access to funds.

30 entrepreneurs from the neighborhoods served by the Bethel New Life Church have been selected for a one-year training program. Participants will attend 15 weekly classes to develop a business plan, work with mentors and join a community of innovators on the West Side. Graduates of this program with at least $1,500 in savings will receive a grant of up to $6,000 dollars and be eligible for up to $10,000 in financing from The PrivateBank’s Entrepreneurial Loan Program.

“By equipping entrepreneurs who have good ideas for new businesses, together we will create critical jobs in our community,” said Lori Vallelunga, President and C.E.O. of Bethel New Life via a printed statement. “We’re working to build a vibrant economy on Chicago’s West Side and we know small businesses are the key.”

One participant plans to launch a contracting business and restore abandoned homes on Chicago’s West Side. “This program will help me hire, train and pay people a livable wage from my community,” Ricky Veal was quoted as saying in a press release about the program. “I love to see the faces of families when you hand them the keys to their own home.”

Vallelunga added, “Our community faces challenging economic conditions, but West Siders have long known that if there aren’t jobs, you create them. Our community has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and track record of small business development. We are excited to provide opportunities for new entrepreneurs to develop the skills and access the resources that they will need to build their business and to strengthen our community.”

“Small businesses employ more than half of the private sector workforce in the United States,” said Larry D. Richman, President and Chief Executive Officer at The PrivateBank via their website. “These new businesses will provide jobs and economic growth in these West Side communities.”