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Free program offered to help area entrepreneurs

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Updated Jan 24, 2018 at 1:45 PM

Heather Horowitz, executive director of the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), announced Wednesday her organization has teamed up with BGSU Firelands and Erie County Economic Development Corporation (ECEDC) to expand RISE (Regional Incubator for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship) to Huron County.

RISE will offer area entrepreneurs critical support at no charge thanks to funding from multiple private and public sources focused on local business formation and community growth.

The RISE Norwalk kick-off event will be at NEDC’s offices, 12 Benedict Ave., at 9 a.m. Feb. 6. This will be an opportunity to connect with RISE business experts and hear stories from the rapidly growing RISE community of entrepreneurs. With advanced scheduling, individuals can meet one-on-one with a RISE consultant to share broad business aspirations or work through specific challenges.

RISE is a proven program designed to grow employment and spearhead economic development by linking business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to resources and experts in business start-ups, business development, and business acceleration. The program began in Erie County in partnership with ECEDC and BGSU Firelands, supported by GLIDE, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise. Now in its seventh year, RISE has worked with more than 150 clients in free advisory consultations and has engaged more than 200 entrepreneurs in its monthly RISEing Entrepreneurs programming.

“Erie County, BGSU and GLIDE have been very strategic in how they have developed RISE. Expanding into the adjacent Huron County continues that process. Now, we will be able to add to the reach and frequency of RISE activities and all of it will be fully accessible to entrepreneurs from both Huron and Erie counties,” Horowitz said. “We are delighted to join this partnership. It offers our business community a proven platform to support business formation and growth. We look forward to helping in the continued expansion of resources and business community activities in the region through the RISE program.”

A full year of RISE programming in Erie and Huron counties, including the following elements, will be announced at this kick-off event in Norwalk which represents the start of the 2018 RISE calendar of activities:

• RISE advisory consultation sessions — GLIDE advisors meet with new or existing businesses based on “Milestone Mentoring” where businesses are challenged to set short and long-term goals and leave with homework and action items designed to meet these goals.

• Networking and speaker series — Successful entrepreneurs share their story, tips, and problem-solving techniques. The events bring together a community of entrepreneurs who stay to network with the speakers and one another.

• Seminars — Educational seminars for individuals to sharpen management and strategic skills.

• Expert office hours — Local business professionals in law, accounting, marketing and more provide pro-bono consulting services at drop in lunch time events.

For more information on RISE, refer to the ECEDC web site at http://www.eriecountyedc.org/start-a-business/regional-incubator-for-sustainability-entrepreneurship/; for more information about NEDC, visit http://www.norwalknedc.com/; for information on RISE at BGSU Firelands, visit https://www.firelands.bgsu.edu/offices/educational-outreach/rise.html; and for more information on GLIDE at Lorain County Community College, visit http://www.glideit.org/.

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