Doing well by doing good is one of those great sounding maxims that always seem more sizzle than steak. But, with the right collaborations, some Michiana businesses are seeing that they can revitalize the community while making a profit. So, while the federal government struggles with collaboration and cooperation, stumbling about the ledge of a fiscal cliff, some Michiana leaders have found a way to make things happen.
In a collaboration of entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses and individuals looking for jobs, the Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce (MAACC) is identifying businesses and connecting them to resources and business opportunities. The process recognizes some critical stages of development: Education and preparation, support and development, competency and capacity building and business opportunities.
Each stage leverages important collaborations. In Education and Preparation for business, the Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce partners with Michiana SCORE to provide mentoring, coaching, workshops and a network of knowledgeable advisors. The Apprentice Academy provides immediate project specific skills training, while Ivy Tech offers certifications for skills employers need. For individuals the soft skills necessary to be effective on the job are provided by Project Impact, Goodwill Industries, Dismas House, Ducomb Center and others. Those same organizations help individuals through the support and development stage helping individuals be more successful in their positions. In addition, the businesses from the Business Advisory Council that cannot buy services from a community business or hire one of the individuals from the program, can provide mentoring and coaching support.
Businesses that complete workshops and perform well on the MAACC assessment are invited to bid on projects from the Business Advisory Council and the MAACC network of sponsors. This process provides income for developing business and practical experience commensurate with the businesses capabilities.
Stone Horses http://stonehorses.com/is a great example of a business adding value to the community through this effort. This local manufacturer of model horses has trained individuals in their Shipshewana facility and set them up in a satellite facility in the Michiana Goodwill facility on Western Avenue in South Bend. By training individuals from the community to assemble and clean models, they have created jobs and increased capacity.
For more information on how you and your company might join this social entrepreneurship movement in Michiana contact the Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce at 574-287-3000 or the Business Advisory Council at 574-472-7316.