40 hot businesses to start

The Thypin Oltchick Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Federation Employment and Guidance Service (FEGS) recently held a Small Business Seminar in Brooklyn and will present “40 Hot Businesses to Start” on Thursday, June 14, from 5-6pm at the Manhattan Pavilion.

This seminar will be one of the free panels and networking sessions at “America Means Business Days”, from June 13-15, for entrepreneurs and those who wish to own their own businesses. The Manhattan Pavilion is at 125 W. 18th St. in Manhattan.

The Thypin Oltchick Institute mentors women entrepreneurs, recommending professional resources to those who want to become small business owners. It helps match entrepreneurs with reliable experts and services for their local businesses and provides loans. The Institute also runs seminars.

At the recent event at Brooklyn Borough Hall, the journeys of five local women pursuing their own business and financial independence were shared including the nuts and bolts of their entrepreneurship experience.

Wanting to spend more time with her new and expanding family, owner Ingrid Mtia-Chungata of A Magical Place, a childcare center in Bushwick, talked of her transition from banking.

“You have a degree in finance to clean diapers? “ her mom lamented in its early stages, revealing some family members’ resistance. Her first Montessori-based center –and she did take courses in childcare–opened in 2007. Now, she has two more centers, the three serving 44 children. Her presentation resonated with many audience members, advising that if you love children, there is a need for home-based childcare.

Grace Tappin was a dancer for years before she started her yoga, dance, and Pilates’ studio in 2007. She had some familiarity with this sort of thing from her sister who runs a spa nearby in Clinton Hill and she was also armed with business studies from Cornell.

Grace, who is of Guyanese heritage, wanted a yoga studio for practitioners of color who “looked like me”.

“I spent two weeks, day and night, making the website,” she said, and, “People bought class cards before I opened.” Community support helped her Myrtle Ave. studio succeed and grow, including a move to a larger venue from her first spot. “It’s wonderful to create your own environment, ” she said.

Her website (and card that she distributes) includes the schedule of 30 classes each week. Her classing offerings of yoga, African dance classes, Pilates, and Latin rhythm fitness workouts, and sales of retail items employees 14.

The other women who shared their business venture journeys are far from typical women-run enterprises.

Denise Bogan took her economic and financial future in her hands to start her own Coney Island-based residential and commercial cleaning business. She gets advice and support from The Institute. She also has found similar businesses in other cities that share business practices’ advice with her.

Evy Leonard of Screening Mamas’ home screen repair, mentioned difficulties in a “group-owned” business.

Vondra Thornburn of Vokashi had a Brooklyn Public Library award winning and very unusual business plan for a company that is an urban composting service (including a bran-like substance to ferment household organic waste and pick-up and delivery to community gardens and green spaces). Vondra admitted that the fact that she owned her own home and received a pension enables her to pursue this enterprise.

City Councilman Erik Dilan of the 37th District, while Chair of the Brooklyn delegation, partnered with the Institute to hold the Boro Hall event “because their organization has an excellent track record of helping more than 2000 aspiring entrepreneurs create and build small businesses.”

He knew that in this economic climate, people are exploring small business ideas, but may not know how to start.

Among the attendees, one woman had dreams to open a children’s shoe store. Another had lost her long-time job as a psychiatric nurse at St. Vincent’s when it closed last year and was looking for some economic direction. Some came out of curiosity like the businesswoman who distributed Mary Kay products. Some women were thinking of becoming entrepreneurs–the experienced graphic designer, or the mom and homemaker, who has designed carnival costumes and mentioned fashion.

In Boro Hall’s mezzanine, tables were set up and representatives and information on local organization resources were available. Among those, Business Outreach Center Network (BOC), 718-624-9115, offers advice, free services, and loans to help small businesses grow.

NYC Business Solutions has centers in all the boroughs and a schedule of classes to help budding entrepreneurs. These include: financial management, mastering marketing, QuickBooks, entrepreneurship boot camp, and website fundamentals. The Brooklyn Center is at 9 Bond St, 5th fl., 718-875-3400.

For more info: (nyc.gov/nycbusiness). The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (ibrooklyn.com) is also available for advice including obtaining affordable health care and insurance for small businesses.

To register for the Manhattan Pavilion 3-day event: www.americameansbusiness-nyc.com.

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