Chicago’s Onward Neighborhood House Launches Business Incubator

Contact: Nikki Way, Director of Development & Communications

Onward Neighborhood House, a nonprofit organization in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, is launching a new entrepreneurship program to provide local youth and adults with the tools they need to start a business.

The Lab at Onward House, will use a curriculum from Uncharted Learning, a national organization that develops business education programs for K-12 students. The Lab is the organization’s first community-based partnership. The curriculum will be adapted to fit the needs of Chicago’s community members, many of whom have a non-traditional educational background.

“We are thrilled to bring the tools, experience and curriculum of Uncharted Learning to the Onward House community,” said Mario Garcia, Executive Director at Onward Neighborhood House. “Those we serve have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Many have already taken advantage of our other adult learning programs, such as our eCommerce class. This new partnership will continue to support our students’ ambitions of opening or expanding a business and provide critical resources they cannot receive anywhere else.”

Traditionally, Uncharted Learning serves high school students where teams create new product and service innovations. Onward House will adapt this course to for all-ages and within a community-based setting. The program will guide participants to take business ideas from concept to completion, designed to address real entrepreneurship challenges. Further, students will build critical skills vital for successful business development, including collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving.

“This is an incredible opportunity to serve young adults outside the classroom,” Sophia Cabido, Business Incubator Specialist at Onward House. “We look forward to seeing our curriculum in action at Onward House and the impact on its participants. Even the most basic business development skills and information can make a difference and help turn an idea into a reality.”

The Lab will be taught by a team of local educators and business leaders who have successfully launched and sustained businesses in Chicago.

About Onward Neighborhood House

Founded in 1893 in the West Town neighborhood as one of Chicago’s original settlement houses, the mission of Onward Neighborhood House is to open doors to improve lives and uplift communities through educational, economic and support services.

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