Starting a business is no easy feat – entrepreneurs often need all the help they can get. Increase CDC offers a suite of services that range from helping the budding business owner find their best idea, to giving the established entrepreneur the tools they need to grow.
From their location at 3433 Agler Rd., Increase CDC serves primarily low to moderate income individuals on the northeast side. It’s a motivated group of individuals that want to improve their economic status and provide others with jobs. All businesses are welcome though, regardless of industry or income level, whether they need help with the seed of their idea, or assistance in a specific area.
Increase CDC’s early-stage programming takes an entrepreneur from idea to business plan.
Choosing Your Business Idea helps attendees understand what type of entrepreneur they are, while assessing their skills and abilities. Community Outreach Coordinator LaMeshia Conley provides an example. Say an individual likes to cook. That person might think they want to be a chef and open a restaurant, but insights in the class could lead another direction. Maybe they like food and like writing about it, so perhaps a business combining food writing or food videos would be a better outlet.
“One person that finished the Choosing a Business Idea, she was absolutely grateful for taking the class because she had thought differently about what she wanted to do,” Conley says, adding that the business owner said she likely would have failed without the insights the class gave her.
As for the next step, “One of our main and most popular [resources] are the Microenterprise Training Classes,” Conley says.
The eight week course is designed to help entrepreneurs further define and develop their idea, while covering topics like goal-setting, action plans, marketing, operations, pricing, cash flow, legal structures, insurance and more.
“At the end of it you should have a fully-written, qualified business plan,” Conley says.
Entrepreneurs can use that business plan to approach Increase CDC for capital through their loan program. Increase CDC’s Micro Loan Fund assists businesses with five or fewer employees with loans of up to $10,000.
If a business owner needs insights in a specific area, Increase CDC offers Technical Assistance. The organization connects business owners with resource providers that have expertise in everything from human resources management to branding to accounting and finance, all at a reasonable rate.
Established business owners can find a network of like-minded individuals at Increase CDC through Entrepreneurs of Increase. Yearly membership gives entrepreneurs access to webinars and workshops, quarterly networking events and a listing on the website’s business directory.
The Entrepreneurs of Increase program has been in operation since 2012, but is solidifying its purpose and output. It’s also providing a way for alumni of the various classes and resources to stay connected to the organization.
“As we evolve it’s one way to stay connected,” Conley says.
Increase CDC’s services have been through some changes over the last few years, naming New Executive Director Deonna Barnett in September of 2015, and going from a virtual to permanent home. Their new permanent location allows the addition of co-op office spaces. Increase CDC has a few spots open for small businesses that need office space and also offers services like mailbox rental.
For more information on Increase CDC’s services, visit increasecdc.org.