The BIG Center supports businesses from pre-launch to exit:
- Entrepreneurial mindset, ideation, and proof of concept
- Growth with new product development, new markets, sales, and marketing channels with a focus on technology and digital marketing
- Commercialization and financing
- Scaling of operations
- Non-organic growth such as vertical integration, acquisitions, and joint ventures
- Paves a path for students, alumni, and the area's local start-ups into Chicago's entrepreneurship pipelines, educational programs, and mentoring.
Read more in our BIG Center Brochure.
CO-WORKING at the BIG CENTER at BRONZEVILLE
The BIG Center at Bronzeville now offers several spaces where you can develop and grow your business including a shared co-working space for 15-20 participants, a private hybrid conference room for four members, a full room presentation/training space for 15-20 participants, as well as various configurations for custom event needs. See our spaces catalog.
The Center has amenities including technology for hybrid business experiences, a business-class printer, on-site staff and security, high-speed Wi-Fi, cleaning services, snacks, and drinks.
BECOME YOUR OWN BOSS: Business planning course
Thinking about starting your own business or non-profit? With a plan, your start-up or small business is more likely to succeed. In this 12-week, non-credit course, you will create your own pitch-ready business plan.
Your course instructor will guide you through four main components: researching your industry and competitors, developing your marketing and sales plan, devising your financial statements, and preparing your pitch presentation. With industry leaders who coach and mentor, you will have expertise at your fingertips and a newfound network among those who believe in our mission to empower your entrepreneurial spirit.
Benefits of business planning at NEIU’s BIG Center:
- Focus on financial forecasting and double your chances for success!
- Make profit-enhancing entrepreneurial pivots before launch and/or before scaling;
- Certificate of completion from NEIU’s AACSB-accredited College of Business and Technology (adds credibility when seeking financing);
- One-to-one coaching sessions with instructors and mentors between classes to work specifically on your entrepreneurial venture;
- Be pitch-ready to attract financing, including grants, loans, and equity investments;
- Publicity opportunities: BIG Center entrepreneurs were featured in NEIU press releases, on CBS News, in AARP’s national monthly magazine, in Negocios Now, and in the BIG Center newsletter;
- The training culminates with a demo The BIG Pitch Night, to which family, friends, angel investors, local government officials, community leaders, and the press are invited;
- Review the course content for more details.
As BIG Center alumni:
- After completing the business plan non-credit course, NEIU’s BIG Center continues working with you to find regular opportunities to feature you and your entrepreneurial venture in publicity and other marketing opportunities.
- Access to business evaluation and several 1:1 coaching sessions.
- Opportunities to work with NEIU faculty and students on projects focused on the growth of your entrepreneurial ventures.
- Depending on the resources, student projects can include logo design, branding consultations, Pitch Night videos, and business highlight reels.
Become part of the BIG Center leadership:
UPCOMING Training and WORKSHOPS
Become Your Own Boss (BYOB): Business Planning Course
BYOB course is going hybrid and begins the first week of February 2024. This course is designed for new business ventures only. The course cost is $300 for 12 weeks of coursework, monthly meals, and The BIG Pitch event/ reception.
This cohort will meet on Thursdays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Carruthers Center, 700 E. Oakwood Ave. in person or virtually via Zoom. The course runs from Feb. 8-May 16.
The class has a remote option for the first two weeks of each module and is required in person on the last week, except for the last module which has two required in-person meetings. There are four modules. For the required in-person classes, dinner will be served.
During the remote optional days, we will have the Center open for you and the class will be live-streamed. The instructor may be present in person or instructing remotely.
Close Your Communication Gaps Workshop
5:30-8:30 p.m. March 4
Want to know the secret to better communication, problem-solving, and teamwork? Join career and workplace strategist Davina Ware as she presents a simple tool that has helped countless leaders better understand themselves and their teams.
PAST Training and WORKSHOPS
- BIG Ideas: Lessons from the Founder Speaker Series: FLY, a study buddy and tutoring app
- BIG Ideas: Lessons from the Founder Speaker Series: Master Happiness
- BIG Ideas: Lessons from the Founder Speaker Series: Strategic Roadmap
- Spring 2023 Business BIG Pitch Night
- Grand Opening of the BIG Center at CCICS
- Build an Online Storefront and E-Commerce Website
Check out the resources available to you through membership or affiliation with these organizations, including training, networking, webinars, loan programs, etc.
For more information, contact the BIG Center.