INDIANAPOLIS — For many Hoosiers, the dream is to own their own business and work for themselves. But sometimes they don’t know where to start.
Indiana Black Expo’s Black Training Institute works to help black entrepreneurs navigate their way to success.
For Jonathan Warren, founder of Market Square Popcorn, it was difficult to get his idea off the ground. He needed access to knowledge and resources, which he found through the Institute.
“There were a lot of things we thought about and assumed, but after going through the Black Business Institute, there was no assumption. It was on paper, it was clear and everything was run by experts,” Warren said.
Warren’s business now has locations in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
“We are a small batch of artisanal popcorn. We make caramel corn, cheese corn and everything in between,” Warren said.
IBE is working with Key Bank on a free 10-week workshop to provide experts and training on things like marketing and licensing.
“The need is so great in our community. Minority-owned businesses need support, some training, some education to grow and become more empowered to do more in our communities,” said Key Bank’s Juan Gonzalez.
“It’s challenging. To go out on your own and try to start something, but with the right support, you can do anything you set your mind to,” said Aric Anderson.
That support is crucial for black entrepreneurs who face more bureaucratic and financial hurdles than their white counterparts, according to numerous small business studies and surveys.
“It gave me little tips and tricks that I could do: how to negotiate contracts; how are your finances looking… [and] how much money do you need to make to actually become an LLC,” said Cassandra Williams of Educational Innovation 360.
25 qualified entrepreneurs have passed through the Institute since April, and a new group is starting in October.
If you want to apply, there are certain criteria you must meet. More information is available here.