INDIANAPOLIS, July 30, 2015 - The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has awarded a $60,000 grant to Business Ownership Initiative (BOI), a program of the Indy Chamber's Entrepreneur Services division, to support its business coaching and consulting services for entrepreneurs and small business owners, the organizations announced today.
Small business represents a large share of the Indianapolis economy. Nearly 85 percent of all firms in the region have fewer than 20 employees; one in three of these companies are less than five years old. BOI provides one-on-one business coaching, financial management tools and other services including low- to no-cost educational workshops and training to the region's smaller, younger employers.
"The Pulliam Charitable Trust's generosity will pay immediate dividends for our small business community," said Julie Grice, President of Business Ownership Initiative. "Based on our efforts to date, we expect this grant to extend free one-on-one business coaching to 355 entrepreneurs in Marion County over the next year, and provide financial training for another 160 existing businesses."
These programs impacted more than 1,250 entrepreneurs and small employers in 2014. BOI also works in partnership to manage the nation's largest Chamber-affiliated microloan program, providing much-needed growth capital to Indy's fledgling employers.
During her career, Nina Mason Pulliam shared her financial success and business leadership skills with many charities and civic endeavors as she and her husband, Eugene Pulliam, grew Central Newspapers Inc. into a successful, widely influential publishing enterprise.
"She would take great pride in the outstanding work being done by the Indy Chamber to empower small business owners," said Carol Schilling, Trustee chairman. "Through her Trust, we continue to build on her legacy, reflecting her heart for philanthropy and her keen awareness of the issues that face our community."
Among the issues facing the U.S. economy is a small business sector that has been slow to recover after the Great Recession. The most recent federal data shows more small businesses closing than opening across the country, with newer firms especially vulnerable.
"We are working hard to combat these trends in our region, by providing access to resources, personalized mentoring, even capital," added Grice.
Business coaches help small businesses with planning, operations/cash management and consulting, providing more than 900 hours of free advisory sessions in 2014 along with an array of classes and workshops for business owners. Its microlending program provided 24 loans totaling $791,743 last year to both fledgling companies and existing small employers seeking to expand.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we're committed to their success," said Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO. "Entrepreneurs have to embrace risk, but we're moving the odds in their favor with access to expertise and mentoring; the support of partners like the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust makes these efforts possible."
The grant to BOI represents one of 30 awarded to nonprofit organizations in Indiana by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust during the first of two grant cycles this year. Since the Trust began its grant-making in 1998, it has awarded more than $120 million to 463 nonprofit organizations in Indiana.