Southwest Side 36Squared Small Business Incubator to Receive $ 80,000 Federal Funding
A stained glass restoration business, vintage clothing store, and bagel bakery are all in an unassuming industrial building in McKinley Park. The 36Squared Business Incubator is home to 30 small businesses, some start-ups, others fully operational.
For four years, the incubator has used the five-story brick building located at 3636 S. Iron St. to deliver services ranging from confidential business advice to training events and webinars, said Executive Director Andrew Fogaty.
Now, the incubator is expected to receive federal funding of $ 80,000 to help make its building more accessible to customers with disabilities and expand programs for small businesses in the Chicago area.
Charlotte Trecartin and Breece Eagar turned to 36Squared in May 2020. The two had an idea for an accessories business but weren’t sure how to make it happen.
“I wanted to know a bit more about … how to move manufacturing forward and just get a solid idea,” said Trecartin, 21. “I was just watching different events, and there was one on IP, and 36Squared and (Small Business Development Center) hosted it.
At the event, Trecartin met with an intellectual property lawyer and Fogaty. Under their leadership, Trecartin drew up a solid business plan and purchased a 3D printer. Now she and Eagar, 23, are moving forward to patent their product.
“I really think mentorship is one of the best ways to encourage healthy, sustainable growth,” Eagar said.
36Squared has worked to reach entrepreneurs with disabilities, providing them with “Boost rewards»To 12 entrepreneurs and businesses in the region since 2018.
“The goal is to bring the disability community into the wider economic and business development world,” Fogaty said.
Amaechi Ozegbe, who emigrated from Nigeria over 20 years ago, ran a successful restaurant called Hook, Fish and Chicken in South Chicago until he underwent emergency brain surgery that altered his condition. vision in January 2012.
“I thought I couldn’t go back,” said Ozegbe, who received a Boost award last year. “After all the training and everything, now I started to see that I could get back into the business. “
Ozegbe said that with the help of 36Squared, he has been put in touch with organizations where he can apply for more funding and location assistance.
He called 36Squared’s work with entrepreneurs with disabilities a mission that benefits both business owners and communities.
“When I start my business, it creates jobs, not just for me but for everyone I have to work with,” said Ozegbe.
Cheyanne M. Daniels is a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a non-profit journalism program that aims to strengthen the newspaper’s coverage of communities on the south and west sides.