Expanded resources coming to the Nia Center

February 13, 2017

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced expanded resources coming to the Nia Center, a one-stop workforce and entrepreneurial development center located at 2900 W. Broadway. Enhancements include department function additions and training opportunities, a new loan program and the addition of a café.

“Our city has great economic momentum right now. We have to make sure that opportunity and prosperity reach every neighborhood in our city,” said Fischer. “The Nia Center is a great partner for us in those efforts because if you want to start a business, want to grow an existing small business, or need help finding a job, this is the place to get the resources you need.”

In late 2016, Louisville Metro Community Services’ FEeD division (Financial Empowerment and economic Development division, which includes the microbusiness program) relocated to the Nia Center. The program joined the existing Small Business Development office, called the Business Clinic, run by Louisville Forward’s Department of Economic Development.

The move allows the departments to work side-by-side with other providers in the community, including the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Kiva and the SBA to bring more opportunities for collaboration that benefit Louisville’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“Our Community Services team members are honored to bring our Financial Empowerment and economic Development services into an existing focal point in west Louisville,” said Eric Friedlander, director of Louisville Metro Community Services. “We look forward to being a part of the interactive environment at the Nia Center that builds on the strengths of our community’s residents.”

Partnering with Louisville Forward, Louisville Metro Community Services and KentuckianaWorks, the Nia Center offers a full range of job and career services.

Programs offered at the Nia Center include:

Financing assistance

  • The Metropolitan Business Development Corporation, commonly known as METCO, administers small business loans, which include facade, accessibility and gap financing loans. Since merger, more than 150 west Louisville businesses have received loans through this program, leveraging more than $27 million in private investment.
  • The Louisville Metro Microbusiness Loan Program supports businesses that employ five or fewer people, including the owner, and offers loans ranging from $500 to $15,000.
  • The Business Accelerator Loan, a NEW loan with special criteria is now available to entrepreneurs and small business owners who locate a business in one of the nine neighborhoods of west Louisville.

Business development assistance

  • Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program empowers makers to find pathways to entrepreneurship through an online marketplace by teaching students about entrepreneurship 101, budgeting, pricing and marketing. Applications are now being accepted for the March session.
  • Exploring Entrepreneurship is a free 1-hour introductory workshop for self-employment information and small business resources held the second Tuesday of each month.
  • Power-Up Business Course is a free 7-week course designed to provide practical business planning information to participants, and enable them to develop their business idea.
  • A 3-part “Government Contracting 101” lunch & learn series coordinated with the U.S. Small Business Association, starts in late March.

Workforce development programs

  • The Kentucky Career Center inside Nia offers a full range of job and career services including job-coaching, resume-building, training and job placement. The facility, which placed nearly 50 people in jobs during the last six months of 2016, received extensive renovations and improvements in 2016.
  • Kentuckiana Builds training is a 7-week class to prepare people for jobs being created by Louisville’s current building boom with projects like the Kentucky International Convention Center expansion and the new Omni Louisville Hotel.
  • The Manufacturing Training and Employment Connection (M-TEC) and the Certified Production Technician (CPT) are 2- and 4-week trainings that give graduates skills and certifications valued by local companies that are hiring, including GE Appliances, Dakkota Integrated Systems, Algood Food Company and many others.

The expanded array of programs will include a new café to be added to the lobby area of the Center. Local small business owner Pam Haines will operate the café, a smaller version of her restaurant, Sweet Peaches, located at 1800 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The café will offer coffee, tea, sandwiches, salads and a variety of freshly baked pastries, and is expected to open in early summer 2017.

To learn more about the Nia Center, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/nia-center

Original press release located here.