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June 20 2012

Operation HOPE Turns Business Dreamers into Business Owners with Empowerment Initiative

100 Entrepreneurs graduate from the inaugural Small Business Entrepreneurship Training Program First Quarter 2012

Washington, DC — Financial dignity nonprofit, Operation HOPE, Inc., (HOPE) today announced the successful completion of the 2012 first quarter cohort for the Small Business Entrepreneurship Training Program with 100 trained small business developers completing business plans and graduating from HOPE Financial Dignity Centers (HOPE Center) across the country.

From the group of 100 participating entrepreneurs, 22 registered their businesses; of which 33 opened business bank accounts; and 10 successfully submitted small business loan applications.

Cohorts of the 2012 first quarter, participated in the 12-week training classes at the Atlanta, Washington, DC, New Orleans, Harlem and Oakland HOPE Centers, learning how to make a business plan, advertise, select suppliers, evaluate business feasibility, and understand financial statements.  Additionally, each graduate receives a business mentor or counselor, and is advised on how to solicit additional technical assistance, open a new business bank account and work on improving their credit with the goal of having access to capital from local credit unions, financial institutions or micro-finance loans.

In 2010, HOPE began working with Calvin Bonds and TJ Walker of the esteemed organization Calvin Walker Community Building, Inc, in collecting, analyzing and implementing best practices from programs across the country to develop a new comprehensive curriculum that would provide entrepreneurs with a critical understanding of how to be successful in business.

The program has met with almost immediate success, as in the example of the New York Center graduates, where networking events have been set up to collaborate and highlight their businesses, the popular events becoming known as “Business Expos.”  

During the event, business owners sell their products and goods to local residents, encourage guest speakers to share their stories of overcoming obstacles and success, as well as networking with one another to share best practices for marketing, sales, advertising, bookkeeping, to name a few.

“As a part of Operation HOPE’s ‘silver rights’ mission to create stake-holders in underserved communities, the Small Business Entrepreneurship Training Program the  combines business training and financial counseling with lending services to give budding entrepreneurs the tools, resources and business contacts necessary to fulfill their dreams,” said Kevin Fleming, SVP, Director of Field Operations, Global Financial Literacy Initiatives for HOPE. “Our program uplifts underserved neighborhoods by promoting our clients’ success—and in the process, fueling the creation of jobs within the community.”

To learn more about the Small Business Entrepreneurship Training Program and other HOPE “silver rights” initiatives to empower underserved communities, visit the Operation HOPE website at