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The Joseph Center, 7600 Roosevelt Rd., has received a $50,000 grant from Cook County to fund continued investments in local small businesses. 

Melissa Duff Brown, director of Joseph Center Business Development, said the grant will fund work that aligns with the center’s mission.  “The Joseph Center’s primary goal,” she said, “is to facilitate financial empowerment and wealth creation in underserved communities through entrepreneurship, leadership development, vocational, and workforce development.” 

She said the objective of the center, which exists under the organizational umbrella of the Joseph Business School and Living Word Christian Center, is more lofty than just getting jobs for underserved people.  “We not only want,” she said, “to break the cycle of poverty in urban communities through education and workforce development but also to inspire people to seek true economic prosperity and self-sufficiency through business ownership and full marketplace participation.”

Kim Clay, director of communications for Living Word Christian Center, said, “the grant dollars will be used to support the services already being provided to local businesses by the Joseph Center’s Illinois Small Business Development Center, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and International Trade Center.” 

“These services include outreach and technical assistance,” Clay said. “Outreach means notifying small business owners about opportunities to assist them in business recovery and stabilization. Technical assistance means one-on-one counseling to help with business planning, recovery, and growth.”

The funding came through the county from the Federal CARES ACT.  Clay said last year the Joseph Center provided a total of $3 million in grant money to help local small businesses.

What makes the Joseph Business School different than, say, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, is that it combines biblical principles with scholarship in the field of business and management.