With the successful launch of ChiBizHub, an initiative of World Business Chicago in late April, we’re spotlighting the Rogers Park Business Alliance and their Executive Director, Sandi Price. Sandi provided answers to a few questions we had regarding their services and success story.
What services do you offer to entrepreneurs and small business?
GROW Entrepreneurial Training (GROW). GROW’s curriculum teaches how to develop a business. From creating, expressing, and delivering the product or services your customers and clients seek, to how to navigate the always-changing business environment. GROW helps with business plans, expanding understanding of best practices and provides expert guidance on implementing best practices and models that are key to business’ sustainability.
- Help Desk– One-on-one consultations with experts based on entrepreneurial needs.
- Access to capital – Guidance and referrals for both traditional and non-traditional loans.
- Special Service Areas– Programs and initiatives that help businesses get up and running. The SSA’s also provide services to improve the look and appeal of our commercial corridors, as well as administer a Business Improvement Program.
In your opinion, what is the immediate impact that small businesses and entrepreneurs have in their communities?
Small businesses are an integral part of a community because they provide services and retail to the residents, create jobs and bring visitors into the neighborhood. They are a part of the vitality of any community.
What advice would you offer entrepreneurs looking for help?
Always reach out to the City of Chicago’s department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, your local Aldermanic service office, business development organization and/or chamber before you start the process of opening a business. They have plenty of resources for entrepreneurs.
Can you share a success story?
In 2015, Autumn Williams was operating her start-up food business, Urban Tables Meals and Events, out of a kitchen in a Rogers Park church. She was making home cooked meals for over 100 people each week and had the dream to build to turn Urban Tables into a bigger, more far-reaching business. Autumn joined and completed the GROW Entrepreneurial Training Program at Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA) with the hope of achieving her vision.
Fast forward to February 2019: Urban Tables Meals and Events is ready to open its very own brick and mortar storefront on Clark Street in Rogers Park. In addition to providing weekly prepared and delivered meal offerings to residents of Rogers Park, Edgewater and Evanston, Urban Tables offers catered meals, focusing on a diverse and customizable menu of healthy, home-cooked foods for family dinners, corporate events, weddings, and other social or professional gatherings.
“…As a direct result of the resources provided by RPBA, Urban Tables is now incorporated and licensed…Through the GROW program we have developed a network of business relationships that continues to strengthen and grow.”- Autumn Williams, Founder and CEO, Urban Tables.
How do small businesses find you?
Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization established in 1993. RPBA works in the areas of business, community and economic development. We employ a professional staff and are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of local business owners, residents and other stakeholders. Its mission is to cultivate and sustain a thriving economic environment in Rogers Park, serving businesses and residents.