A stained-glass restoration enterprise, a classic clothes retailer and a bagel bakery all sit inside an unassuming industrial constructing in McKinley Park. The 36Squared Enterprise Incubator is dwelling to 30 small companies — some simply beginning, others totally operational.
For 4 years, the incubator has used the five-story brick constructing at 3636 S. Iron St. to supply providers starting from confidential enterprise advising to coaching occasions and webinars, stated government director Andrew Fogaty.
Now, the incubator is ready to obtain $80,000 in federal funding to assist it make its constructing extra accessible for its shoppers with disabilities and to increase programming for small companies within the Chicago space.
Charlotte Trecartin and Breece Eagar turned to 36Squared in Might 2020. The 2 had an concept for an equipment enterprise however weren’t certain easy methods to convey it to fruition.
“I wished to study a little bit bit extra about … easy methods to transfer ahead with manufacturing and simply getting a solidified concept,” defined Trecartin, 21. “I used to be simply totally different occasions, and there was one on mental property, and 36Squared and (Small Enterprise Improvement Middle) hosted it.”
On the occasion, Trecartin met with an mental property lawyer and Fogaty. Beneath their steering, Trecartin got here up with a stable marketing strategy and acquired a 3D printer. Now, she and Eagar, 23, are transferring ahead to patent their product.
“I undoubtedly assume that mentorship is likely one of the finest methods to encourage sustainable, wholesome progress,” Eagar stated.
36Squared has made an effort to succeed in out to entrepreneurs with disabilities, offering “Increase Awards” to 12 entrepreneurs and companies throughout within the space since 2018.
“The aim is to convey the disabled neighborhood into the broader financial growth and entrepreneurial world,” Fogaty stated.
Amaechi Ozegbe, who emigrated from Nigeria over 20 years in the past, ran a profitable restaurant known as Hook, Fish and Hen in South Chicago till he had emergency mind surgical procedure that impaired his imaginative and prescient in January 2012.
“I believed I couldn’t return,” stated Ozegbe, who acquired a Increase Award final yr. “After all of the coaching and the whole lot, now I began to see I can return into the enterprise.”
Ozegbe stated with 36Squared’s assist, he’s been put in touch with organizations the place he can apply for extra funding and site help.
He known as 36Squared’s work with entrepreneurs with disabilities a mission that advantages enterprise house owners and communities alike.
“Once I get my enterprise going, it’s a job creation, not only for me however for everyone that I’ve to work with me,” Ozegbe stated.
Cheyanne M. Daniels is a workers reporter on the Chicago Solar-Instances by way of Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that goals to bolster the paper’s protection of communities on the South and West sides.