PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s a project five years in the making that’s coming full circle on Peoria’s Southside.
Peoria’s Minority Business Development Center is officially completed, open, and ready to help.
The center had its open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening at its location at 2139 Southwest Adams Street, coinciding with National Black Business Month.
Denise Moore, CEO and founder, said after five years and more than $600,000 from private donations, it’s been a long time coming.
“This is the official launch, and we’re just so excited,” Moore said.
Moore said the organization started in Peoria in 2013, they started building the in-house radio station in 2014, and the work on the development center started at the end of 2015.
She said, aside from the excitement, they’re trying to get the community educated on what the center can do for minorities, women, and veterans.
“This is in order to allow the community to learn how to start their own businesses, to get some I.T. training, to become proficient as a minority contractor,” Moore said. “We help them to become profitable by managing their back office.”
Moore said the center also offers classes, programs, and training for entrepreneurs for free. She also said they can rent office space.
She said the goal is to educate and elevate by making business owners more successful than when they started.
“We’re trying to recreate Black Wall Street right here in Peoria,” Moore said. “We’ll help anybody that walks in the door, our motto is we help keep your business in the black because the only color we see is green.”
Moore said there are numerous minority businesses in the city that are not getting the notoriety they deserve. So, she said they also use their in-house radio station, WPNV-LV (106.3 FM), to promote them and share information about business, health, and wellness.
“We have a directory, we have a radio station, we have all kinds of social media that folks who come in here who we work with, we blow them up on social media, so folks know that they’re there,” Moore said. “It’s important for the world, for the community, for Peoria to not only embrace other businesses but to embrace Black businesses.”
She said one of the center’s benefits is an incubator for businesses that are just starting out and may need a little help.
“Our goal is for business owners to be successful,” Dorfredia McCain, an asset-building counselor at Justine Petersen, said.
Justine Petersen is a microlender company that’s renting an office inside the development center.
“A lot of times business owners struggle with not having cash-flow or capital, and so we help with that,” McCain said.
She also said they help with credit building and preparing entrepreneurs for the banks.
Moore said the center’s opening was delayed for a year due to COVID-19, and said she wants potential business owners to learn from this process.
“You have to be prepared for any contingency, you have to always be looking for opportunities to get the word out about your business, and always keep innovating,” Moore said. “Stay hungry, you can’t just rest on your laurels because as soon as you do you’re done.”