Local program helps future entrepreneurs turn their passion into a business

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Posted at 7:53 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 19:53:38-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Future entrepreneurs are going through one-on-one training on the city's northeast side at the Community Solutions and Entrepreneurship Center.

"It really is life-changing to me," Harold Williams said. "I made a lot of bad decisions and I'm trying to correct all of those by helping the community out."

Williams is in the process of building his business, Before & After Construction, a home remodeling company that serves low and middle-class families at an affordable rate.

He recently took advantage of free business training through the Community Solutions and Entrepreneurship Center. The training is located at Edna Martin's Leadership and Legacy Campus, where Williams works as a janitor.

"It made me take pride in my work more and it made me really realize what's important with having your business, how to make it grow, how to make it grow financially, as well as how to advertise and how to go about getting a bank account," Williams said.

The Hobby2Enterprise program includes one-on-one coaching, giving entrepreneurs a guide on how to start, develop, and scale their businesses.

The Community Solutions and Entrepreneurship Center is the newest program for Edna Martin Christian Center, which serves the Martindale-Brightwood Community.

"We serve an area that has a high crime rate," Trenisha Jones, Edna Martin's Family Success Coach said. "Unfortunately, a lot of people do have a criminal background and so it's hard for them to find traditional employment."

Jones said they are seeing an increase in community members who have skills and want to start their own business.

"Instead of it being a hobby or side business people are saying no I can make money I can do this," Jones said.

Since 2019, more than 160 people have benefited from the free training program.

For six weeks, participants develop a business plan, get financial tips from banks, and four times a year they have a pitch contest for an opportunity to win $500 and receive financial services through QuickBooks.

"You get a chance to start something that you have a passion for and you always dreamed about doing," Williams said. "A lot of people think it costs a ton of money to start your own business but that's not the case if you have a dream a desire and you are dedicated to it then you can do it."

Another way Williams is giving back to the community is through a program within his company called, Speak to Hear.

He wears hearing aids and has since he was a child. Now he is planning to donate 10% of every business contract to the program. His goal is to buy one child a pair of hearing aids every year.

If you want to support his business, you can contact Williams at 317-518-3370.