City Launches Initiatives That Support Small And Hispanic Businesses And Provide Greater Access To Resources
Efrat Stein 312.744.5365
Today, the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced three initiatives that support small and Hispanic owned businesses and provide greater access to resources.
The initiatives include the Chicago launch of an innovative, bilingual web portal, the National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse, (Hispanic BIC) and is sponsored by The U.S. Department of Labor, Western Union and other private and public sector organizations.
The Hispanic BIC is a free online business resource, available in both English and Spanish that supports the start-up and growth of small and Hispanic-owned businesses. A new kiosk, located inside the BACP Business Assistance Center, gives entrepreneurs access to timely and localized business resources such as agencies and programs that support small businesses, local financial resources and demographic data. The site is also available at www.hispanicbic.org .
“By leveraging partnerships with non-profit agencies and the private sector, we can strengthen our business communities to help them grow and prosper,” said Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Norma I. Reyes. “By joining forces we can reach more people. On behalf of the City of Chicago, I thank Western Union and its partners for this helpful resource.”
“Entrepreneurship is a minority vocation, as evidenced by the thousands of American-born and immigrant visionaries who have turned their dreams into viable businesses,” said Fred Niehaus, senior vice president of global public affairs for Western Union. “Western Union launched the BIC concept to provide critical resources to these traditionally underserved populations, because we know their success lays the foundation for economic prosperity in communities nationwide.”
“Hispanics have a strong entrepreneurial drive, but they’ve never had a specialized resource that addressed their particular needs and concerns,” added Sal Gomez, founder and chair of the Hispanic BIC. “The Internet has opened a whole new universe of opportunity, but scouring thousands of Web sites for help can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve consolidated the most essential information found online into one easy-to-use, bilingual portal that empowers Latino entrepreneurs with information, confidence and a sense of community.”
In addition, BACP will launch a series of free workshops for entrepreneurs that will be taught in Spanish and offered throughout the year. The workshops will cover essential business basics such as starting a business, access to financing, and marketing.
"Today is a very exciting day for Chicago’s Hispanic Business community. The City’s vision to partner with agencies that provide free business resources to entrepreneurs is not only smart, it is necessary during this tough economy,” said Xavier Nogueras, President of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses today are hurting and need all the help they can get. These free resources offer the types of support our businesses need.”
To provide small businesses with greater access to resources, today the department officially launched the Small Business Solution Station, a free one-on-one business counseling program for entrepreneurs.
The Solution Station is made possible through a partnership between the City and non-profit agencies that assist small businesses: SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Business), ACCION Chicago and The Community Economic Development Law Project.
The program provides small businesses with direct access to business planning assistance, free legal services, and business loans.
The Small Business Solution Station serves as an added resource to entrepreneurs visiting the Business Assistance Center, and is open from 9:30am-3:00pm, Tuesday-Thursday in City Hall, room 800.
“ACCION Chicago is grateful for the partnership it has formed with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. Through this partnership ACCION has gained additional visibility for its services and has been able to provide financing advice and support to businesses. We are excited about the future potential of this relationship, especially in light of the significant credit needs of small businesses," said Jonathan Brereton, Chief Executive & Lending Officer of ACCION Chicago.
BACP currently holds free weekly business classes, and seminars throughout the City, assisting thousands of entrepreneurs seeking assistance with starting and running a business and connecting them with important business resources. For more information on all the mentioned programs visit www.cityofchicago.org/bacp or call 312.74.GOBIZ.