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Helping Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Helping Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
January 17, 2024 Billy George

The Greater Freeport Partnership works to enhance the economic and community development of the Freeport and Stephenson County areas in many ways. We work with existing employers to help them take advantage of opportunities to thrive and grow where they are. We work with elected officials and their representatives to develop programs, environments, and opportunities to attract new businesses into the area. We promote the area and create entertaining events that draw thousands of people to the area every year.

For me, though, the work we do that has the most satisfaction and resonance for the economic health of our community is our work with small businesses and entrepreneurs. Helping someone to nurture and grow their dream to own their own business helps that individual and her or his family but it also helps the entire community. It provides more employment and more economic opportunities for our communities, it adds diversity to our economic ecosystem, and a sense of place and pride to those businesspeople who work hard and see their businesses succeed.

One of the ways we are currently working to help entrepreneurs connect with their dreams, is by offering our Business Academy for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs (BASE Camp). BASE Camp is a series of five classes held over 10 weeks, taught by a variety of local and regional experts. The classes include:

· Getting Started: Evaluating Your Plans, the Power of the Business Plan & Market Assessment

· Corporate Structure, Accounting & Insurance

· Show Me the Money: Finances, Sources of Revenue & Taxes

· Getting the Word Out: Marketing, Websites, Social Media & Public Relations

· The Rest of the Story: Real Estate, Staffing Regulations & Licensing

The program starts on January 30 at 6 pm at the Partnership office. Preregistration is required. We ask that all applications, including scholarship applications, be submitted by January 20. The five classes are designed to be taken as a whole for a fee of $200, but can also be enrolled individually at $50/each. With a generous grant from the Foundation for Northwest Illinois, we can offer scholarship recipients a $150 discount on all five classes, reducing the cost of the series to just $50. The grant will also allow us to offer a pitch competition among BASE Camp graduates with cash prizes of at least $2,000. More information and applications forms can be found here.

This is a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs! Please help spread the word to your customers, clients, friends, and other contacts.

We hope to see you there!

BIll Clow is the Business Engagement Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. He can be reached at or 815-233-1356.