Micro-lending organization Bad Girl Ventures
(BGV) wants Cleveland to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners. That hopefully beautiful friendship will begin on Thursday, October 3, when BGV Cleveland hosts its kickoff event introducing the 10 finalists of its fall business plan competition.
The 10 women will present themselves at Battery Park Wine Bar
, pitching their ideas to an audience before embarking on BGV's nine-week course to help tweak their fledgling enterprises. The final class will be in mid-November, with the winner of BGV's $25,000 low-interest loan announced during a "graduation ceremony" the following month.
Financing and mentorship are just two of the benefits for program participants, says Reka Barabas, director of BGV Cleveland.
"Networking is a huge motivating factor for them," she says. "These women are not just sitting in a stuffy classroom, but extending their professional network."
This autumn's class represents a wide range of industries and specialty areas. There's a children's party bus, granola bar company, match-making business, and more.
BGV Cleveland offers business education courses and financing twice per year to help women-owned startups launch, manage and market their businesses. In May, custom cake baker Sugar Plum Cake Company
earned the business group's $25,000 loan. Two other ventures -- Journey Art Gallery
and The Agrarian Collective
-- each received $5,000 loans from a private giving circle.
"We're exposing these businesses to as many resources as possible," says Barabas. "There's a huge value in that."
SOURCE: Reka Barabas
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth