INDIANAPOLIS — For many Hoosiers, it’s a dream to own their own business and work for themselves. But sometimes, they don’t know where to start.
The Indiana Black Expo’s Black Business Training Institute is working to help Black entrepreneurs navigate the journey and launch into success.
For Jonathan Warren, founder of Market Square Popcorn, it was hard to get his idea off the ground. He needed access to knowledge and resources, which he found through the Institute.
“There was a lot of things that we thought and we assumed, but after going through the Black Business Institute, there was no assumption. It was on paper, it was plain and it was all led by experts,” Warren said.
Warren’s business now has locations in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
“We are a small batch artisan popcorn shop. We make caramel corn, cheese corn and everything in between,” Warren said.
IBE works with Key Bank for the free ten week workshop to provide experts and training on things like marketing and licensing.
“The need is so big in our community. Minority-owned businesses need support, some training, some education to grow and become more empowered to do more in our communities,” Juan Gonzalez with Key Bank said.
“It's challenging. To go out on your own and try to start something, but with the right support, you can do anything you choose to do,” Aric Anderson said.
That support is crucial for black entrepreneurs who tend to face more bureaucratic and financial obstacles than their white counterparts, according to a number of small business studies and surveys.
"It gave me little tips and tricks that I could do: how to negotiate contracts; what do your financials look like ... [and] how much money do you need to make to really become an LLC," Cassandra Williams with Educational Innovation 360 said.
25 eligible entrepreneurs went through the Institute beginning in 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.