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A nonprofit will give women of color a chance to level up by offering them entrepreneurship training

YWCA of Northwestern Illinois

A northern Illinois nonprofit that works to eliminate racism and uplift women is offering women of color the opportunity to learn how to start, maintain or grow their own businesses.

Kris Machajewski is the president and CEO of the YWCA of Northwestern Illinois. She said the organization has offered similar entrepreneur training for women in the past.

“But this is the next level of training,” she said. “A couple of years ago, we received funding through Coca Cola to do a women's empowerment and entrepreneurship program. That was quickly followed up by a grant from the McDonald's Corporation.”

That nationwide training was called Black & Positively Golden and it focused on helping business owners who were Black.

Diving Deeper: A Guided Business Plan is based on a training series written by Melanie Rae.

“And it's a step-by-step course that has a facilitator and is going to be bringing in industry experts,” Machajewski explained, “small business development experts and really helping lead them through the process.”

Machajewski added that the training will focus on women who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color because she said there are access issues for this population.

In addition to giving step by step instructions on business ownership, the training will also help with marketing and budgeting.

Professional business owners will lead the way.

“That is so critical. And I don't care if you're leading a nonprofit like I do,” she added, “or you're starting up your own business, mentors are important. We need people that have already walked this path.”

The classes are virtual and will take place Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. starting Jan. 19 through Mar. 2.

The application deadline is Dec. 15.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.