Category Archives: blog

American Business Women’s Day

American Business Woman's Day

American Business Woman’s Day

September 22 commemorates American Business Women’s Day, a national holiday observed annually to honor and reflect on the contributions and accomplishments of the millions of women in the workforce and the millions of women business owners in the U.S. We’re excited about this day because of our work in the community to help people of color and residents of the West Side excel in business.

According to the National Association of Education Statistics, Black women are the most educated segment within the U.S. population. So it comes as no surprise that in 2017, Black women were rated the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States.

These stats make us smile because with both our Entrepreneurship Training Program and our Workforce Development programs, we’d like to think that our work has contributed to the success of Black businesswomen on Chicago’s West Side for nearly 40 years. Our ETP is facilitated by the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which also spearheads the Business Innovation Technology (BIT) Program for entrepreneurs in our program that desire to integrate a technology-based solution into their business.

As we celebrate #AmericanBusinessWomensDay, we encourage you to think about the working women in your families. But we also encourage you to think about the women who have yet to enter the workforce. The time is ripe for women to thrive in this economy and together we will continue to support them and help their business grow.

Coleman Foundation Awards Entrepreneurship Training Expansion Grant

The Coleman Foundation has awarded the Entrepreneurship Training Program at Bethel New Life a $145,000 grant to advance new strategies in technology growth solutions for entrepreneurs in alignment with the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship-in-Neighborhoods effort.

The Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship-in-Neighborhoods strategies and related awards are:

  • Strategy 1: Supporting individual non-profit business service organizations (BSOs) that provide training and other supports to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in local communities
  • Strategy 2: Develop and enhance networks of business service organizations to scale professional and program development across multiple organizations that share best practices
  • Strategy 3: Build a neighborhood entrepreneurial pathway ecosystem, facilitating transitions based on functional expertise or economic sector specialization

The Coleman Foundation grant will allow expansion of the Entrepreneurship Training Program.

The Community Entrepreneurship Expansion grant award affords additional opportunities for entrepreneurs in technology-based industries and provides community access for experiential learning while supporting Bethel’s efforts to research technology ecosystems and entrepreneurship systems needed for income generation and job retention to scale in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and beyond.


Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is designed for entrepreneurs who have already identified the area of business they want to pursue, but need expert guidance to minimize risk and maximize success. This program is geared toward for-profit enterprises and entrepreneurs who want to start a new business, owners of informally run businesses who want to become licensed and legally structured, and owners of existing businesses less than five years old that want to expand or standardize their business operations. Entrepreneurs selected for this highly competitive program participate in 13 weeks of sessions on business plans, marketing, financing, accounting, risk management, legal issues, and more, followed by a year of personal mentoring from a business leader.

Learn more about the Entrepreneurship Training Program.

Learn more about the Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship-In-Neighborhoods Efforts.

Kanu Iheukumere featured in Huffington Post

Bethel’s Chief Policy & Research Officer was recently published in the Huffington Post through an Op-Ed on Martin Luther King Day. The piece discusses the lack of sustained interest in addressing poverty and how applying some of King’s original strategies for modern times could help in the struggle for racial and economic justice. To read the full piece, click here.

Kanu Iheukumere Op-Ed Featured in Ebony

Bethel’s Chief Policy & Research Officer was recently published in Ebony magazine through an Op-Ed on the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago. The piece talks about how the gruesome footage and the aftermath shows part of a system that has avoided taking the necessary steps to provide real solutions.

To read the full piece, click here.