City Life Center offers business class for aspiring entrepreneurs

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Executive director Ken Barry (standing) gives a presentation on writing business plans while participants (from left) Laila Lyles, Marvin Lyles, and Pamela McElroy take notes. (Photo provided)
information provided by City Life Center

GARY, Ind. (March 3, 2020) – A desire to see more entrepreneurs fulfill their business vision and flourish in Gary, Ind., has inspired the executive director of City Life Center to offer a business class.

Ken Barry, who has a master’s of business administration, leads the eight-week entrepreneurship class every Monday at City Life Center.

In the past, Barry has taught classes at Kennedy King College and South Suburban College. Now he shares his knowledge with residents in the community.

“Small businesses are the key to the economic development of the city,” said Barry. “When we look at the economic development of Gary, we need as many small businesses as possible to open, be profitable, and grow.”

Participants in the course learn about business plans, social media marketing, and business incubation.

“Typically you go to a lot of classes and get a lot of information shot at you,” Barry said. “You may walk out of class with a certificate, but you really don’t have anything. The purpose of this class is for people to walk away with their first draft of a business plan.”

The class also features other guest speakers who are business owners in the community. Gretchen Sipp, owner of Gold Luxury Standard (GLS) Administrative Concierge and Events, teaches the significance of social media marketing. “I wanted Gary entrepreneurs to understand that our market is unique to us,” said Sipp. “If you plan on doing business locally, you have to understand the different methods of marketing.”

Sipp states that social media is an integral part of developing a business plan, but many business owners do not maximize its benefits. “People don’t understand the importance of social media when it comes to their marketing plan,” Sipp said. “Or they overestimate and throw all of their advertising into social media alone.”

The structure of the class allows presenters to provide feedback on each individual business idea. “We actually try to focus on each one of those businesses,” said Barry. “Some principles are good across the board, but we want to be as specific as possible in a group setting.”

Marvin Lyles, the radio host for Gospel Sunrise on Gary’s WGVE 88.7 FM, is one of the participants in the class. He has been in the radio business for over 30 years. He attends the class with his 14-year-old daughter, Laila Lyles, who aspires to start her own makeup business. “I think it’s going to be a great asset for beginners,” said Lyles. “They’re doing a great job making us aware of having the right mindset for entrepreneurship.”

Executive director Ken Barry (standing) gives a presentation on writing business plans while participants (from left) Laila Lyles, Marvin Lyles, and Pamela McElroy take notes. (Photo provided)

The eight-week program is called “Entrepreneurship 101: Mind Your Business.” Classes are held every Monday until March 23, from 5:30– 7:30pm.Anyone interested should register online at www.citylifecenter.org.

City Life Center is a non-profit organization that helps families thrive by connecting them to opportunities, resources, and information. More information is available at www.citylifenwi.org.