Gary Micro-Enterprise Initiative trains new class of entrepreneurs

Downtown Gary is pictured above. The Gary Micro-Enterprise Initiative has been training entrepreneurs to start up businesses across the city.

Gary held its first “Celebration of Entrepreneurs” at City Hall last week to tout its Gary Micro-Enterprise Initiative, which has provided training to successful small businesses around the city, including J's Breakfast Club and Foody's Restaurant.

Would-be small business owners attended eight weeks of evening classes at ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen at 411 E. 5th Ave. to learn about business structures, how to draft business plans, start-up costs, marketing, recordkeeping with Quick Books, and using social media to promote their business.

"The goal of GMI is to provide a road map for Gary residents as they journey toward business ownership," the city of Gary said in a press release. "GMI provides instruction and direction and works with students through challenges and in business planning."

It's one strategy Gary is using to combat blight, unemployment, and the retail and food deserts that deprive its residents of many basic amenities. The city had an estimated 6,800 vacant structures as of a few years ago, and persistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state of Indiana.

The city's Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Division support the entrepreneurship program, which produced 12 students this past week.

Another cohort will begin in January, with the next starting up in April.

For more information, contact program manager Diana Sandlin at 219-881-1312.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.