On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the fifth cohort of A4CB’s Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab (NEL) graduated from the rigorous nine-month program. Nineteen entrepreneurs from across Chicagoland participated in the virtual accelerator program, and many focused on pivoting their business and planning for new revenue streams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NEL program was developed in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust and lead donor, Bob Crawford, to provide capital, coaching, and collaboration to entrepreneurs poised for growth. The program pairs small business owners with investors, advisors and strategists who provide intensive assistance as well as introductions to influential contacts within their personal networks. In addition, each entrepreneur receives a $20,000 grant to grow their business.
“The resiliency of this group of entrepreneurs to dedicate their time to NEL during the pandemic is phenomenal,” said Rowan Richards, Director of Community Business at Allies for Community Business. “Congratulations to the graduating cohort. We look forward to continuing to work together to help your businesses thrive.”
The Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab fifth cohort members include:
- Kristi Andarcia, Kenwood School of Ballet
- Mary Aregoni, Saigon Sisters
- Thomas Brewer, Whadda Jerk
- Aisha Crump, Honey Baby Naturals
- Sam Devenport, 57st. design
- Fatoumata Diallo, Binta Sagale
- Gabriela Duran, Fiesta Party Rental
- Justin Essig, Beehyyve
- Stanley Fowler, Stan’s Seasonings
- Andrea Herrera, Amazing Edibles Catering
- Vivek Kunwar, Himalayan Momo
- Taylor Mason, Taylor’s Tacos
- Patricia Medina, Core Juice Bar
- Tigist Reda, Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
- Rashaii Russell, Happy Hands Cleaning Service
- Tajuana Savage, CTRL Kitchen
- Dan Schedler, Around the Bend Beer Co.
- Eudell Watts IV, Old Arthur’s Barbecue Products
- Demetrius Williams, Salem Security
Each graduating cohort member will now continue to scale their business or launch a new product or service. The new products include innovative meal packages from Saigon Sisters, an eco-friendly cleaning line from Happy Hands Cleaning Service, and a new jerk seasoning from CTRL Kitchen.
“NEL has been pivotal to our growth,” said Taylor Mason, owner of Taylor’s Tacos. “We have learned how to organize and build our business for the present and future. We were given capital and an actual chance to believe in ourselves. NEL took the excuses out of our vocabulary, and set us up for success!”
The sixth cohort of the Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab will launch this fall. Click here to learn more about A4CB’s services.