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Every year, dozens of entrepreneurs are helped by the Urban League of Rochester's Business Development Division.
Chances are, most of them get to know Stephanie Miles, coordinator of the Urban League's Entrepreneurial Assistance Program.
Originally from Philadelphia, Miles earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications at Ohio State University. She has been with the Urban League for more than 20 years and has headed the EAP program for the last six years.
"We help businesses to get started and to grow, and we help with business plans," said Miles, who lives in Rochester.
The Urban League helps about 50 to 60 clients annually. They serve everybody, but the program is geared to minority and women-owned businesses. Its services cost $165 a year and include a 60-hour business planning workshop series.
"Our role is to help them clarify their vision so they can actualize it," she said.
We sat down with Miles recently to find out more about the services her agency offers.
You see people at all socioeconomic levels interacting: It's pretty empowering for all. Sometimes clients have a distorted view of their prospects for success, which requires them to revamp their plan. I try to guide people to self realization.
Sometimes it's difficult: Some people won�t listen to you. That's frustrating. We have our spouses, our children, our families and we've always experienced some time when we want to tell somebody something and they won't listen to you.
Without the Urban League's services: For business, many potential clients would flounder. The disaster would be more on a personal level. It doesn't serve people to get started and fall flat on their face in three months.
People shift in their experience: Of what's happening in their life, to go from powerless to hopeful. You're giving people a chance to look at things differently, to be effective. You feel so proud and you're happy.
As more and more skilled workers: Are laid off I'm seeing a higher level of sophistication among clients. And it's taking longer for clients to get their businesses off the ground because they have learned what they need to prepare and aren't rushing in.