Moraine Valley Community College Announces Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at the City Colleges of Chicago Everything Your Small Business Needs to Grow is a free, practical business management education program that helps established small business owners develop the skills they need to grow their companies. Participants will receive one-on-one business advising from dedicated professionals to help them develop a tailored plan for growth.

The curriculum focuses on developing skills that business owners can apply immediately to address the issues most critical to growing their businesses, including:

– Identifying and evaluating business opportunities;

– Understanding and managing the competitive business environment;

–  Analyzing financial statements and using them to make management decisions;

– Accessing financial capital; and

– Leading a growing business.

In addition to the classroom experience, the 10,000 Small Businesses program will:

– Provide one-on-one advisory services to help business owners to develop and implement their tailored Growth Plans;

– Help participants drive growth by preparing their businesses to apply for financing; and

– Provide networks and mentors to help participants focus on their most critical business issues and increase business capacity

Small Businesses accepts applications from small businesses owners on a rolling basis, year round. To be considered for the January, 2013 class, please submit your application no later than October 15, 2012. For more information and links to the application, please visit our website at or contact us at [email protected].

Countdown to Small Business Saturday: Time to Start Preparing for November 24th

Each year, SmallBizTechnology does its best to help you prepare for one of the biggest small business events of the year: Small Business Saturday. Sponsored by American Express, Small Business Saturday is held each year on the Saturday that falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year that Saturday is November 24th. While it may seem like you have plenty of time left, it’s important to start preparing your website for the big day.

Each year, American Express seeks to help small businesses by encouraging patronage of small businesses. Customers who register their American Express cards to shop at small businesses on November 24th, will be given a $25 credit for each registered cardholder. Customers need only register their cards ahead of time to qualify for the refund. “I think slowly the message is starting to seep in that it’s vital to shop at small businesses,” Josie Leavitt, Publishers Weekly blogger, wrote after last year’s success. Leavitt is a bookseller in Vermont. “It was heartening to see so many new faces. People actually thought about what small businesses to go to and were happy to let us know they’d chosen us.”

Here are some dates to use as a checklist as you prepare for the biggest shopping weekend of the year.


‘Like’ the official Small Business Saturday Facebook page. This will not only sign you up for ongoing updates and reminders about Small Business Saturday, it will also provide information about participating in special contests hosted for small businesses. Sign up for ShopSmall to receive ongoing communications about Small Business Saturday, including advice on how your small business can participate. Evaluate your small business’s online presence, taking into account local customers who might be searching for you for the first time through sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Make sure it’s easy for those customers to find you.


Utilize the many ad tools available in the Small Business Saturday Toolkit. These include signs and tutorials on small business marketing activities like creating a Facebook presence and uploading a YouTube video. Work with your web designer to make sure your website is ready for the influx of traffic. Decide which specials you’d like to offer and create banners and signage. The toolkit can help with this. Promote the $25 American Express credit and let customers know you are participating in Small Business Saturday. You’ll be amazed how many customers hold American Express cards and will be willing to shop if they know they’re getting a $25 credit. Create a way to capture customer information to a database. As you receive a larger-than-usual influx of customers on Small Business Saturday, take advantage of the opportunity to get information on those customers that you can use for future mailings.


Finalize website testing and optimization. Hang Small Business Saturday signage prominently in your store’s window and/or near the cash register. Promote your Small Business Saturday special offers on your company’s social media sites. Don’t forget your current customers. Contact them to let them know about the special offers you’ll have for Small Business Saturday. When it comes to promotion, it’s never too early to start preparing. Thanksgiving weekend will be here before we know it and with so much competition for attention, small businesses are more challenged than ever to make an impact on Small Business Saturday.

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The Small Business Challenge $50,000 Giveaway

The Small Business Challenge is a competition that invites companies to compete for a share of $50,000 in cash, plus services from digital marketing agency lonelybrand to help grow their businesses. Signing up is simple and takes about ten minutes at

The contest is aimed at supporting small businesses and boosting the U.S. economy. At the same time, it will give the crowd an opportunity to decide which businesses deserve to be funded. Each company that applies is required to make a pitch for how the Small Business Challenge will help their business create more jobs. The top three that demonstrate the most potential for growth and job creation – as determined by a panel of judges and then by public voting – will be announced on November 9th.

Businesses with less than 100 employees, as well as entrepreneurs with startup ideas, are eligible to participate. The winner will receive $25,000 in cash plus advertising support, while the second- and third-place winners will be awarded $15,000 and $10,000 in cash, respectively.

“We know that small business growth is one of the keys to helping the U.S. economy bounce back,” said Maurice Lopes, founder and CEO of “More than 3.5 million new businesses are founded each year, but credit is tight right now, and many entrepreneurs outside of hubs like Silicon Valley and New York have a difficult time competing for funding from venture capitalists and angel investors. “Through the Small Business Challenge, we want to help fill that gap and give a boost to promising companies that have the most potential for job creation so that they continue to build their businesses and stimulate economic growth.”

To qualify, businesses must submit an application at and receive at least 100 votes from their supporters through social media and email campaigns. The submission, nomination and voting process runs from September 1st to October 31st.

After the initial voting period ends, the 25 companies with the most votes will be named automatic semifinalists. A judging panel will select another 25 semifinalists that demonstrate the most job-creating potential. The panel will then gather additional information about the semifinalists and their leadership teams and select 10 finalists. The three prize winners will be chosen by voters between November 2nd and 7th.

Program Success of the Week – More Polish Pottery

Rebecca Gengler, owner and founder of More Polish Pottery in Big Rock, started her “love affair” with polish pottery as a military wife stationed in Germany from 1998-2001. She collected the pottery during her travels, and dreamed of starting her own polish pottery business. She recognized that polish pottery was not just another stoneware piece – but something of high artisan quality with each piece having a story behind how it was made. With such a large polish heritage in Illinois (including her own), she couldn’t wait to pursue this dream.

Fast forward to 2011, Rebecca and her husband purchased a five acre property in Big Rock, which conveniently included four greenhouses and an oversized garage from a previous business that was located on the site. Rebecca used part of the garage as a showroom and ordered an initial inventory of Ceramika Artstyczna polish pottery – over 200 shapes and sizes of bakeware, mugs, plates, bowls, and more. Her business immediately attracted a following, and she kept reinvesting into her business to keep up with demand. She now boasts the largest selection of polish pottery in the northern Midwest region at one retail setting.


As her business took off, Rebecca sought assistance from the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College to help her develop her business plan and decide where to put her focus. She also attended SBDC round tables and presentations where she was able to connect with other small business owners. This has allowed her to learn money saving tips used during the start-up process, network with other wholesalers and retailers, learn smart inexpensive marketing techniques, and learn ways to create business wholesale packages.

“With so many businesses that come and go, I wanted to ensure that my business plan matched my enthusiasm for sharing a product that I have believed in for so long. Our business continues to grow beyond our expectations and we look forward to continued education through the SBDC as we hire more employees, expand further into wholesale and retail markets, and stay on the cutting edge of trends in technology and marketing. We have learned so much in our first year and we are confident that we have amazing resources at our fingertips as we continue to learn for long-term growth and expansion.”

SizeUp Available to Small Businesses

SizeUp, a tool created to help small businesses learn and grow, is now available free of charge through the Small Business Administration. The widget shows businesses how they stack up against the competition in their area, and is available both on the SBA’s website, and the SizeUp website