By Eelisa Jones
Sherman Park’s Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation (BSCDC) announced its 2015 business competition last week Thursday, April 16. The competition winner will receive three months of discounted rent, a complimentary website with technical support, and a wide array of discounted professional services.
BSCDC organizers created this competition to encourage potential and current business owners to set up shop on their Burleigh Street commercial corridor. The organization will also hold a series of workshops throughout May for both competition applicants and non-applicants to learn about entrepreneurial skills – including how to write effective business plans. Organizers will begin accepting business plan applications from June 1 to June 30.
BSCDC will offer three sets of Tuesday workshops throughout May. Each set contains one 9 a.m. morning session and one 6 p.m. afternoon session which covers the same material. The May 5 sessions will cover general entrepreneurial skills.
The May 12 sessions will provide hands-on training for those interested in developing a specific business plan.
The May 19 sessions will offer training on the financial aspects of running a business. Morning workshops will take place at Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club (3000 Sherman Blvd.).
Afternoon sessions will take place at the Wheaton Franciscan St. Joseph campus (5000 W. Chambers St.).
BSCDC competition organizers hope to attract fresh ideas for commercial development in the Burleigh Street commercial corridor – which stretches between Sherman Boulevard and the east to 60th Street to the west.
The competition winner will have the opportunity to select an 1100, 1200, or 1300 square foot store front located within a building from 4500 to 4506 W. Burleigh St. Depending on which space is selected, the prize discount will subtract about 2 hundred to 3 hundred dollars from the first three months’ rent.
The winner will also receive membership to the African American and Hmong Business Chambers – both sources of various networking opportunities.
“Our focus is really to bring in something that is not here already,” says Renee Lindner, BSCDC Outreach Manager. “[We want] to bring in a variety and mix of different people and business.”
For this reason, competition organizers will not be accepting business plans for day cares, beauty salons, liquor stores, cash for gold centers, or convenience stores.
Lindner says that BSCDC members were inspired by a similar business competition run by the Layton Boulevard West Neighbors about a year and a half ago.
The BSCDC has gone a step further than this source of inspiration by offering May’s workshops. “We’re adding on to [the format of] the Layton Boulevard Neighbors’ business competition by offering these classes to help those who may not usually have access to professional services,” says Lindner. The competition’s judges will look for things like financial projections and market analyses – both of which are covered in their May workshops.
To learn more about the Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation, their 2015 business competition, or their May workshops, you can reach their office by calling (414) 447-7070 or by visiting their “Contact Us” page at http://www.burleighstreet.org/