Polsky Center Helps Found Accelerator for Small Businesses on Chicago’s South Side
On November 23, participants were announced for the inaugural ARISE 2.0 Accelerator Program in front of hundreds of South Side entrepreneurs at the Salem Baptist Church. The Polsky Center is honored to be a founding collaborator of the program.
The ARISE 2.0 accelerator program was initiated with a $500,000 donation from David Storch, chairman and CEO of AAR Corporation. His direction was that this money should serve as seed money investments for minority small business owners in Chicago.
The companies participating in the first ARISE 2.0 program are:
- The Frock Shop – Chicago’s top online dress rental service with a showroom based in Pilsen
- Ma’s Best Bakery – a local bakery making delicious rolls and buns that already sells to Jewel supermarkets
- RS Independent Home Healthcare – a combination of premier home health care and community-based social services
- Swish Dreams – an education program and camp using sports to teach young children
The Polsky Center, along with the Social Enterprise Initiative and representatives from Salem Baptist Church, AAR Corporation, and other private investors, helped design and build the ARISE 2.0 program. The program connects participants with capital, mentors and advisors, and a curriculum taught by entrepreneurs and investors from our collective networks.
The ARISE 2.0 program kicks off in January 2014 and culminates in a Demo Day on April 12, 2014.
According to Tom Ancona, associate director of entrepreneurship and angel investor programs in the Polsky Center, “We are excited about the opportunity to help foster venture creation and job growth in our greater South Side community. We run our own Accelerator Program, and the ARISE 2.0 program allows us to take many of the lessons we’ve learned and use them to support economic development in a different context. Our hope is that with the structure the Polsky Center is putting into place for this program give Salem Baptist Church the knowledge and toolkit to run this program for the next decade or more.”