For Entrepreneurs and Owners, A Free Hand
New Oak Park Development Corporation program pairs local business owners with seasoned pros.
A new partnership between the Oak Park Development Corporation and a group of seasoned business professionals aims to help local business owners and entrepreneurs put ideas into action.
"There are a lot of business coaches around but they cost a penny or two," said Viktor Schrader, vice president of the Oak Park Development Corporation. "We hope this is a solution."
Here's how it works: Participants will be paired with members of the Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), a Chicago-based business counseling and mentoring service. There will be a private introductory session, and the SCORE mentors will rotate into future sessions, based on a business owner's (or aspiring business owner's) specific needs. The program is free and open to nonprofits and for-profits alike.
"[The mentors] will hear what the issues are and then start walking through some solutions," Schrader said, adding that participants are expected to have some sort of business plan, or eventual goal, in mind when they arrive.
And it's not just for start-ups. In fact, Schrader said, two longtime Oak Park business owners have already signed up: one is taking over an existing business and wants to start fresh; the other owns a local retailer and is looking to change course.
“It is a valuable way for [the Oak Park Development Corporation] to increase its capacity in the ways in which we assist businesses," OPDC president Sara Faust in a news release. "SCORE counselors have run their own successful businesses through good times and bad. They know what it takes to be successful and they can help clients every step of the way.”
The sessions begin Feb. 14. After that, they're scheduled to take place on the first Tuesday of every month in the OPDC offices at 104 N. Oak Park Ave., Suite 203. Appointments can be made online at the SCORE Chicago website or by calling (312) 353-7724. For scheduling assistance, contact the Oak Park Development Corporation at (708) 383-3838.