Polsky Small Business Financial Fundamentals

Polsky Small Business Financial Fundamentals

Applications & Eligibility

I'm a Small Business Owner Interested in Being a Client

The Polsky Center is looking to partner with existing small business owners who can benefit from the classroom knowledge and personalized, free consultation that this program will offer. The goal is to better position small businesses to apply for capital.

Program Description:

This program helps business owners refine financial reporting, create financial projections, increase knowledge on access to capital, build business credit, and manage business finances to achieve profitability and improve cash flow. The time commitment is two hours per week and an average of two hours of outside work per week with dedicated MBA student team support. By the close of the program, each business will create a package of financial and business information commonly required by lenders, including:

  • Business overview and history
  • Business goals and strategy
  • A statement of financial health referencing past performance, ratios, debt capacity
  • Financial statement forecasts
  • Expected future performance, debt needs, and capacity
  • Sources and uses of cash, cash needs, and debt capacity

Participants will be invited to become members of the Polsky Exchange for ongoing support and engagement.

Who Should Apply: 

South and West Side business owners with annual revenues approximately $250,000-$500,000 who are seeking guidance on improving their financial reporting and using financial statements to make strategic decisions.

Participants should be:

  • Ready to make shifts in their businesses to achieve greater success;
  • Prepared to spend time to work on their businesses (and not just in their businesses), i.e. be able to step away from daily operations to grow the business;
  • Able to attend an in-person gathering at the close of the program; and
  • Have a set of financial statements, i.e. income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. Minimum requirement for participation is a P&L (income) statement; assistance is available to create if needed.

 

Application Process:

The Small Business Financial Fundamentals client application is now open for the January-March 2023 Winter cohort. For questions, please contact Isra Omar at iomar@uchicago.edu.

I'm Interested in Being a Student Consultant

The Polsky Center seeks highly motivated Booth students looking to gain experience in business finance consulting by helping clients grow profitable businesses and manage their finances. Qualifications and requirements include:

  • Interest in finance, business management, entrepreneurship, small businesses, social impact via economic growth in an urban setting, and/or consulting;
  • Previous finance or accounting related experience;
  • Commitment to attend bi-weekly classroom sessions, weekly virtual team meetings with the clients, and an in-person gathering at the close of the program;
  • Capacity to commit 5-10 hours per week for ten weeks;
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to be a team player.

Student-facing program description:

The student consultants will work with small businesses from the South and West Side of Chicago to address challenges related to business finance, including the delivery of a final customized project for each client. Student consultants will receive training on fundamental business finance topics, such as business model generation, business planning, financial statement preparation, analysis, and forecasting, best practices and processes for consulting engagements, and skills for managing successful client relations. Students will receive a small stipend for their project work with the expectation that they will commit up to ten hours per week for ten weeks. Student consultants will have the opportunity to work closely with Booth Professor Kathleen Fitzgerald.

The final project is the preparation and presentation of business and financial documents that the client will use to obtain financing for their business.  The packet will include the following:

  •       Business overview and history
  •       Business goals and strategy
  •       A statement of financial health referencing past performance, ratios, debt capacity
  •       Financial statement forecasts
  •       Expected future performance, debt needs and capacity
  •       Sources and uses of cash, cash needs, debt capacity

The deadline to apply is Friday, October 14 at 11:59pm CST. If you need any assistance or clarification while completing the application, please contact Isra Omar at iomar@uchicago.edu.

 

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