Would-be business owners move one step closer to dream

Rawaa Al-Shamman (center) presents her business plan for a childcare operation to a panel of business and banking volunteers.

Rawaa Al-Shamman (center) presents her business plan for a childcare operation to a panel of business and banking volunteers.

Refugees who have the dream of starting their own business are closer to making that a reality.

The participants of the Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Development Project are working to start their own home-based daycare businesses.

The program designed to help refugees is a project of the Social Development Commission (SDC) in partnership with the Pan African Community Association and the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute (MEI).

The current class for the program consists of women and men from Iraq, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The participants have been taking classes to gain the knowledge and certification needed to start and successfully operate their own home-based childcare business.

Nelson Soler of MEI reviews childcare business plans with participants in SDC’s Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Development Project.

Nelson Soler of MEI reviews childcare business plans with participants in SDC’s Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Development Project.

This past week, the participants presented their business plans for their proposed operations to a panel of business and banking industry representatives.

The volunteer committee reviewed the plans and talked with the program participants about them.

They will in the near future make recommendations on them.

The program participants said that it has been very challenging to reach this point in their efforts, pointing specifically to cultural and language barriers that have presented problems.

They have worked through those challenges and stated that they are excited at the opportunity they have gotten through the program.

The hopeful entrepreneurs will learn if their applications for a grant have been accepted based on recommendations from the reviewing panel and MEI staff who have been working with them.

They will then apply to the State of Wisconsin for certification, putting them in position to establish their own businesses.

The next class for the Refugee Childcare Microenterprise Development Project is currently recruiting members and is slated to start in January.

To learn more about the program, eligibility requirements or to sign up, call SDC at 414-906- 2768 or visit the agency website at http://www.cr-sdc.org/ and click on the “Programs” page.