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Cleveland Entrepreneurship & Adversity Program

Cash in on the opportunity to build your idea. The time to invest in yourself is now.
For those in difficult circumstances who are trying to start or grow a business
CEAP seeks to help those Clevelanders facing economic or other hardships to start and grow businesses of their own.
The entrepreneurship program at John Carroll University manages the program, with support from the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship and the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University, in close partnership with local nonprofit groups, government offices, small businesses, and other partners across Cleveland.

Bootcamp starts in October - see below for details and apply today!

“Economic hardship is not a characteristic of a person but rather, their situation”

Grounded in more than 25 years of hands-on experience and research, the CEAP model is uniquely tailored to address the challenges among low-income and disadvantaged individuals as they navigate the entrepreneurial process.
Outcomes to date:
  • 80% of program participants start a venture
  • 65% of businesses are women-owned
  • 35% of businesses become sustainable within three years
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“Progress Begets Progress”

Entrepreneurship is a journey of many steps, and to a person in disadvantaged circumstances, the process can seem overwhelming. For this reason, we identified 80 activity steps in the journey from an idea to a sustainable enterprise, and we walk participants through an integrated approach to community empowerment that involves six components:
  • Training Programs: Community members participate in a six-week bootcamp, held on Saturday mornings, that introduces basic tools, concepts, and principles relevant to launching and growing a successful venture. The bootcamp is designed for people with little to no resources or background.
  • One-on-One Consulting: Following the training, a consulting initiative pairs faculty, graduate students, and other partners with the entrepreneurs to work one-on-one solving particular problems.
  • Mentoring: Participants can receive mentorship from a successful entrepreneur who, where possible, has experiences related to the type of business the entrepreneur is working on. In addition, an ‘expertise pool’ of mentors is available with advice on specific problem areas.
  • Community Connect: Entrepreneurs are connected to valuable resources in the community through quarterly community forums, an internet platform, and other communication vehicles. Another component is the Co-Marketing program, which encourages community members to do business with the program’s entrepreneurs.
  • Microcredit: Local organizations and financial institutions create a micro-credit fund that provides low-interest and no-interest loans and grants to individuals as they attempt to launch ventures.
  • Research and Tracking: The program conducts research documenting the challenges facing entrepreneurs, tracking their progress and identifying elements that are successful in helping them to move forward.


We seek to:
  • Foster the creation of new, profitable ventures by those facing economic or other disadvantages
  • Assist existing small businesses in becoming sustainable and growing
  • Work with community members on the development of both the person as an entrepreneur and the business as a successful venture
  • Measure and track the development and performance of entrepreneurs and their ventures based on program participation
  • Celebrate entrepreneurial achievements of those overcoming adversity


Who is eligible to participate?
Anyone in the community who suffers from adverse economic or related circumstances is eligible to participate in the program. We focus on supporting disadvantaged community members who have a dream of starting and growing a venture, including those who have already started a venture but are struggling.
What is the cost?
The price of the Community Bootcamp is $600. However, scholarships of $575 are available for anyone with financial need. All applicants are considered for scholarship.
How do I apply?
The application deadline is September 26, 2022.

How can I support the program?

We welcome the involvement of community members as volunteers, mentors, and donors.

Please contact CEAP Program Director Gabi Beni,
Associate Director of the Entrepreneurship Program, John Carroll University
at to learn more.

Bootcamp Details

Bootcamp Details
Six consecutive Saturday mornings, 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.*
Lunch and refreshments provided!
*Each session will include a session from 12:00-1:00 p.m. that digs deeper into a particular topic with local experts (lawyers, bankers, social media professionals, experts in government contracts).
2022 Bootcamp Dates:
Week 1:           October 1, 2022
Week 2:           October 8, 2022
Week 3:           October 15, 2022
Week 4:           October 22, 2022
Week 5:           October 29, 2022
Week 6 (Graduation!) November 5, 2022
Bootcamp Location:
Benedictine High School
2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Cleveland, Ohio 44104
Program Partners:
Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship
Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University
Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University
Benedictine High School
Burton Bell Carr Development Corporation
JumpStart, Inc.
Urban League of Greater Cleveland
The President’s Council Business Chamber
Cleveland SBDC
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Bootcamp Facilitator

Welcome Alysha Ellis!
We are thrilled to be led through the bootcamp by Alysha Ellis, MBA, a serial entrepreneur, ecosystem builder, author, and creator.

In 2017, she launched a consulting firm where she aims to partner with diverse field experts to provide innovative solutions with a strong focus in strategic planning. In 2020, she developed Mas LaRae, a multimedia platform aiming to share, connect and inspire through storytelling, uplifting underrepresented voices, and intentional relationship building.

Alysha is the lead visionary of IGNITE With Light, a social venture network for entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators to build equitable opportunities and sustainability. She is also an award-winning business leader and innovator. Alysha serves as a board member for LAND Studio and Entrepreneurship Education Consortium.
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