Two Chicago area business coaches and consultants, Glory Borgeson and Jacqueline Napier, recently announced the creation of a community service program, The Catapult Project: Helping Women Launch New Ventures in Business.

Six women will be selected after each applicant is received and considered following the June 30 application deadline. Each woman will be interviewed over the phone in July and those selected will begin preparatory activities, such as scheduling times and babysitting services, in August.

The program, which will allow participants and the consultants to meet every month for six months and correspond bi-weekly over the phone, is designed to help entrepreneurial-minded women gain the experience necessary to develop a prosperous business of their own. Utilizing the development and coaching skills of Ms. Borgeson and Ms. Napier, each of whom have been self-employed for about seven years, they can expand their knowledge of operating a small business and handling the numerous challenges that will inevitably arise, starting with taking a realistic approach to starting their business.

“It’s important that women consider the financial aspects to starting a business so that they go into it fully aware of their total expenses and their budget,” said Borgeson. “They must know how much they can afford because they don’t want to get in over their heads. A coffee shop is generally more expensive to start, but an Internet business like a virtual assistant company would require fewer resources. Women should make sure they choose which business best suits their finances.”

The goal of the six-month project is to help a group of women hone the critical skills necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs. It will focus on the following topics: image and presentation; communications and relationship-building; networking, referrals, building contracts; knowing when and how to delegate responsibility; selecting and working with employees; and managing back end office operations.

“Many women have the motivation to run a business plus a few skills that are required, but they don’t have all of the skills needed to successfully pull a new business together. The Catapult Project is designed to work with this type of woman whose life and skills are at the right place for additional coaching to get them to the next level of leadership development,” said Borgeson.

The Catapult Project seeks women who are either ready to start, or have recently started, a new business, but for whom resources are not currently in abundance and hiring a consultant or business coach is not a financial possibility.

Ms. Borgeson and Ms. Napier will choose six women from the possible candidates from the Chicago area who are: coachable, open to learning new things, have a desire to enhance their leadership skills, and are motivated to do whatever it takes to make their business survive and thrive. Candidates also must be able to make a commitment from early September 2005 through early April 2006 to work through a structured program.

Participants will pay only $25 each to take part in the program, and the fee will be reimbursed to them in full after the program is completed in April 2006.

The Westside Health Authority’s Economic Development Sub-committee of the Healthy Austin Coalition supports the Catapult Project. The WHA will provide babysitting services for the participants who request it. The Catapult project will be hosted by The Peace Corner in the Austin community, located at 5014 W. Madison, which will house the project’s monthly meetings.

The application acceptance period is now open until June 30, 2005. To download an application on-line, go to