Eyewitness News visited this small business initiative in the Elm City and got a look at its "incubator" spaces. Each space has everything you need to get a small business up and running.
“They have their own phone line, their own computer system, and it's a co-working space for them,” Jacqueline James, who is the director of the Small Business Academy, said. “They're here to build up their business."
The Small Business Academy is housed in a modest space on Dixwell Avenue and the director said they are teeming with some big ideas.
“We're helping them legitimize their business and really make it a viable business,” James said. “[We are] making sure that there taxes are in place and that they're keeping their books accurately and that their certifications and licensing are in place."
The academy, which was launched in May, offers a 13-week program with a variety of free classes from how to write a business plan to how to market your new venture.
With about 100 participants already, James said demand is high.
“We're taking in about 10 applications a day,” James said. “So, there's a great need."
James said the cubicle spaces can be rented for a small fee. Each has its own phone number, computer and is linked to a central mailing address.
We hope that they will use it for six months to a year,” James said. “And then at that time we will look at them moving into a bigger space."
"I don't have a computer, so having a computer is a bonus as well as having the functionality of the professionals that are offered here,” academy participant Clarence Philips Jr. said.
The 49-year-old Phillips said he aspires to help others find work by opening an employment agency.
“With the unemployment rate the way it is that I've already been reaching out to different business owners, getting people gainfully employed,” Phillips said. “But I figured I might as well get the license to do it properly."
Phillips said he's sure his ambition wouldn't be possible if he hadn't found his way here.
“Anyone who has a business idea, I consider it to be dreams, so they have a dream of owning their own business, this is the place you should start,” Phillips said.
The program is city-funded and supported by several local and state agencies.
Anyone interested in the program can call 203-946-8387.
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