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Project Lydia prepares young adults for entrepreneurship

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis church wants to help get the next batch of entrepreneurs ready for the world. They’re using grant from the Central Indiana Community Foundation to get more young people into starting small businesses.

West Morris Church is on the city’s west side, and it’s in a neighborhood with a lot of economic disparities — but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people have ideas. Organizers said this program called Project Lydia helps transform an idea into a tangible business model.

“The community make-up definitely has some economic disparities, but primarily I would say poverty just near those church streets,” said Rachel Mohlman, Project Lydia course coordinator.

With grant money from the Central Indiana Community Foundation, the program is grouping participants — known as innovators — with mentors who are current business owners, ultimately helping the innovators develop business skills, build plans, access startup grants and then start a businesses.

“We wanted to meet people where they were at … They may have already started letting people know what they’re doing, what their interests are and what their dream is,” she said.

The Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) is helping train the innovators in asset-based community development, showing them the value in community support.

“They are not alone in this journey starting up these businesses — they do have gifts in assets that they can take advantage of to be successful,” Sharon Logan with the INRC said.

The program has a few weeks to go, but they still need mentors with businesses in areas like photography, skin care and even mobile mechanics. They hope new funding comes back around to support a second round.