Six-figure grant to help track success of microlending, other entrepreneurial efforts, expand free coaching services
INDIANAPOLIS, February 2, 2016 - The Indy Chamber's Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) has received a $114,250 grant from The Glick Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, both organizations announced today. BOI and the Indy Chamber's Entrepreneur Services division offer an array of resources for the region's small and start-up enterprises, including microlending, technical assistance and educational programs, and free one-on-one coaching in English and Spanish for business owners.
The Glick Fund grant will help BOI implement a system for tracking the success of these services, measuring their economic impact in business survival and growth rates, job creation, new capital investment and more. Remaining funds will support coaching for small employers and entrepreneurs. BOI coaches have provided more than 4,000 hours of free expertise to local companies since 2013.
"The Glick Fund's continued commitment to our small business community has been truly transformative," said Carrie Henderson, president of BOI. "There's an old business adage that 'you can't manage what you can't measure' - this grant will help us measure our efforts and make a bigger difference for the homegrown companies that drive most local employment and investment."
The latest gift from the Glick Fund - a longtime supporter of BOI and the Indy Chamber - comes as their microloan program is expanding through a new partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. As an official SBA microlending intermediary, BOI has access to as much as $5 million in federal funds to make modest loans - typically in the low-five figures - to support young companies that may not meet typical banking standards or have connections to other capital sources. This potentially triples its current lending pool.
"As we ramp up our microlending activity across the region with the help of the SBA, it's even more critical that we track the return on investment from all of our efforts to help small businesses," Henderson noted. "Any entrepreneur will tell you about the value of time and money in the struggle to get a company to the next level...we want to make every hour and every dollar count."
The effort to measure the impact of Entrepreneur Services involves the purchase of proprietary tracking software as well as staff resources dedicated to data collection, analysis and reporting.
Marianne Glick explained that the Indy Chamber and BOI's integrated approach to helping small business owners make their efforts pay off for Indy's economy, adding that a clear assessment of the value of these services would likely help attract more public, private, and philanthropic supporters like The Glick Fund.
"I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I know the challenges of owning a business," she said. "Ideas and inspiration are never in short supply - but money and knowledge sometimes are. Often just a few thousand dollars or a little savvy advice is all a small company needs to take a big leap forward - BOI and the Indy Chamber are there for those who can't turn to traditional lenders or afford expensive consultants. The Glick Fund was an early investor in these microlending and coaching programs, and we're committed to their growth."
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About Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)
Jessica Higdon, Indy Chamber,317.464.2232, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Watts, CVR Public Relations, 317.514.3184, cwatts@cvrindy