Spotlight Encore Cleveland: Becoming an ENCOREpreneur

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Launched in 2013 by the Cleveland Foundation, Encore Cleveland helps to connect and fund a network of organizations to provide experienced Greater Clevelanders an array of meaningful opportunities in the community upon retirement or near the end of their primary careers. In our “Spotlight Encore Cleveland” guest blog series, we go behind-the-scenes to explore programs offered through the Encore Cleveland network. In this blog, learn about the ENCOREpreneur program from Economic Community Development Institute (EDCI).

Becoming an ENCOREpreneur

There’s no age limit when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Did you know, that women over the age of 50 are among the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs? To support these encorepreneurs, the Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio (WBC) and the Cleveland Foundation developed the Encore Entrepreneur Initiative (EEI).

EEI is an 8-week long program made up of 10-15 entrepreneurs. The specially curated curriculum consists of ECDI’s 4-week long business planning series, financial literacy training, marketing for business, and coaching for obtaining small business funding. Classes are held once a week at the WBC in MidTown.

EEI is application-based, but not a competition. At the end of the program, all of the women entrepreneurs end with a business plan, an understanding of common obstacles in business, and a built-in support network.

“Our Spring 2019 cohort will be our fourth round of the Encore Entrepreneur Initiative. It’s an exciting program for our team, because we often see how lonely entrepreneurship can be. The WBC and the Encore program provide these women with a community, to guide their journey,” says Nicole Liatos, Interim Director of the WBC.

For more information:

Photo of Annette Hollimon

Annette Hollimon

One ENCOREreneur graduate is Annette Holliman. Annette found a passion for holistic healing after experiencing a life-threatening illness. Healed through holistic practices, Annette dedicated her newfound lease on life to sharing these techniques with others, launching Forever Phoenix. Annette realized that she needed business operations assistance. As a holistic practitioner, the front-end of her business was operating perfectly, but the behind-the-scenes operations required more training.

“For me the WBC was like a family that bandaged me up, allowing me to get back on my feet and not be afraid to put myself out there,” says Annette.

Participation in EEI also secures all participants with ongoing business assistance through complimentary membership at the WBC. The WBC provides women with the resources and tools necessary to create a strong, sustainable business. Members have access to weekly training classes, one-on-one coaching, and connect with the Professional Advisory Network (PAN), a group of volunteers consisting of lawyers, marketers, accountants, etc. As an SBA-funded organization, the WBC also provides women with access to capital, through traditional and non-traditional lenders.

To learn more about the Encore Entrepreneur Initiative and the Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio, please contact:

Nicole Liatos, , 216-912-5662.