Entrepreneurship Program

ESDC offers an intensive, 15-week program that walks aspiring entrepreneurs through the steps they need to take to successfully establish a business. Business owners are hand-held from start to finish to maximize program success, while they learn how to apply that same knowledge independently in the future when they become ready to expand their business. Our upcoming Spanish-language entrepreneurship program will begin in January of 2023. Upon completion of the program, business owners will know how to:

Conduct market research

Business owners will learn how to gain information about potential customers in the area, existing competitors, etc. 

Write a business plan

Through our partnership with a Chicago-based non-profit organization, aspiring business owners will have the opportunity to work directly with retired CEOs and other business experts to develop an effective business plan. 

Choose the right business structure

Program participants will learn how to choose the business structure that provides them with the right balance of legal protections and benefits, and have a clear understanding of how that structure will influence their taxes and level of personal risk.

Choose an effective business name

Aspiring entrepreneurs will learn how to choose a business name that reflects their brand and captures the essence of their business. They will also learn how to legally protect themselves by conducting a search to ensure that the name isn’t being used by someone else. 

Register their business with the State of IL

Program participants will learn how to complete and submit the application to register their business, and will be informed as to the fees they will need to pay in order to register their business with the State of Il.

Get federal and tax ID numbers

Business owners will learn how to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which they will need in order to pay federal taxes, hire employees, open a bank account, and apply for business licenses and permits.

Apply for permits and licenses

Program participants will learn which permits and licenses they need to remain legally compliant and will receive one-on-one assistance with the application process. They will also learn about any associated fees.

Build your business credit

Learn how business credit is established and tracked-and how it can affect your personal credit score and business.

Develop a Marketing Plan

Program participants will be able to work one-on-one with an advisor to develop a marketing plan and marketing strategy to identify a target audience, explore different channels, and set up a timeline.

Set-up a business website

Program participants will be able to work with ESDC’s web developer to set up a basic business website, that could later be expanded upon as their business grows.

Create a logo and branding

Work with an ESDC consultant to create your company’s logo and learn about the importance of distinguishing yourself from your competitors by establishing a memorable identity for your business through branding. ESDC’s in-house graphic designer can also help business owners create their business cards and marketing materials such as flyers, posters, and banners. 

Open a business bank account

Our partnerships with local community banks allows us to facilitate this process for program participants. By the end of the program, participating business owners will have had the opportunity to set up their business account. 

Fund your business

Participants will learn how to apply for business loans and grants. Once they successfully complete the program, they will have the option to apply for a business credit line for up $5000 through one of our private sector partners and potentially establish a line of credit.

Business incubator Program

The ESDC Business Incubator Program is our proposed solution to the growing number of empty storefronts along the commercial corridor in Pilsen, our primary geographic area of service. Participation in the program will be extended to business owners who have completed ESDC’s 7-week entrepreneurship program. This program allows business owners to rent a local storefront space at no cost for a period of 3 months, with the option of 3 additional months if they agree to invest in upgrading the space. Participating entrepreneurs will also be able to take advantage of small business support services provided by ESDC to ensure the long-term success of their business start-ups. Eventually, this program can be extended to ESDC’s other geographic areas of service in Chicagoland such as Brighton Park, Back of the Yards, Chinatown, Markham, Blue Island and Robbins.


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