In the third quarter of 2019, the Coleman Foundation approved grants totaling $498,000 to advance its Entrepreneurship-In-Neighborhoods strategies. These strategies are:
Strategy 1: Supporting individual non-profit business service organizations (BSOs) that provide training and other supports to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in local communities
Strategy 2: Develop and enhance networks of business service organizations to scale professional and program development across multiple organizations that share best practices
Strategy 3: Build a neighborhood entrepreneurial pathway ecosystem, facilitating transitions based on functional expertise or economic sector specialization
$150,000 – Entrepreneurs of Color Fund
The award is to support the delivery of business coaching and education to up to 1,000 entrepreneurs in Chicago neighborhoods as part of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. The Fund supports the work of nonprofit lenders Accion Chicago and Local Initiatives Support Corporation to provide capital to minority-owned small businesses and stimulate economic growth by boosting commercial activity and helping create jobs on the South and West sides. The initiative was launched in July 2018 with initial financial support from JPMorgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank. The Coleman Foundation becomes a supporter of Fund activities along with five additional institutions: First Midwest Bank, U.S. Bank, McCormick Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust and Providence Bank & Trust.
$150,000 – Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI)
The award is to support the general operations of the CEI which in 2018 provided 3,643 hours of training to aspiring and existing business owners through business development programs and outreach events. CEI currently offers six programs for business owners at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Resources also will enable CEI to pilot a new co-working space concept.
$198,000 – Cultivating Networks for Local Circular Economies
The award is to support Plant Chicago in helping businesses understand circular economy models and take tangible actions to incorporate those concepts into daily operations or create new products. Plant Chicago will pilot an initiative to form a network of entrepreneurs and existing small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. The initiative will focus on providing technical support, shared resources, education, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and business topics, such as accounting, licensing, marketing, and more. The project will establish a network and demonstrate that circular economy business practices can be viable and beneficial for businesses, their communities, and the environment.