City of Chicago Kicking Off 1st “Chicago Small Business Week” With Financial Symposium

October 2, 2014

Symposium will educate small business access to capital at market rate

Mika Stambaugh, Director of Public Information     312.744.5365

The City of Chicago is kicking off Chicago’s Small Business Week by co-sponsoring a financial symposium presented by VEDC’s Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund (CBOF) on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Mid-America Club, 200 E. Randolph St., 80th Floor, Chicago. This is the first time VEDC is celebrating Chicago’s Small Business Week.

The City of Chicago Chief Small Business Officer Roxanne Nava and VEDC President Roberto Barragan are set to host the event that will be a reception for 75-100 lenders, representing approximately 40 financial institutions. The goal of the symposium is to ensure Chicago lenders that they can refer clients to alternative lenders and help secure options for businesses that need access to capital without losing their banking relationship.

“Small businesses are the engines of growth in our neighborhoods and access to capital is a top need,” said Roxanne Nava, the City of Chicago Chief Small Business Officer. “This reception is a phenomenal way to collaborate with lenders to support small businesses.”
The symposium will educate lenders about the Chicago Microlending Institute, Capital Access Centers, and VEDC’s options for lenders to refer small business clients that don’t qualify for traditional financing.

“VEDC and the Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund are here to close the lending gap, create jobs and change the way small business lending is done,” said Roberto Barragan, VEDC president and CEO.  “VEDC and CBOF have found success where others have failed. Too many small businesses and start-ups, especially those owned by women and minorities, can’t get the money they need to get off the ground and grow. We’re here to change that and make a difference.”

The City launched the Chicago Microlending Institute in May 2012 to train and develop microlenders to expand small business financing in Chicago. The institute, which is made up of Accion Chicago, Women’s Business Development Center, and the Chicago Neighborhood Initiative, provides critical loans to help support new small businesses, which create hundreds of new jobs in Chicago.

The Capital Access Centers (CAC) is a new initiative by the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, through its Small Business Center (SBC). The SBC started providing funding to eligible non-profit organizations to become CACs. Participating non-profit organizations will work directly with small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the City to connect them financing and technical assistance options for their business.

VEDC has committed to support the City’s small businesses. They will provide a lender at the CACs to help with training during October and throughout 2015. VEDC will put together a grid of “financial resources” with information on individuals and institutions available to help the City’s Neighborhood Business Development Center’s and Capital Access Center’s constituents. Additionally, VEDC will present their premier small business event,  “Here’s the Money! Access to Capital Business Expo-Chicago” in February 2015, where they will bring 30 to 40 lenders together and hold one-on-one sessions and seminars with business owners on a Saturday morning. As part of the loan pavilion registration, VEDC will assess small business owner’s lending needs and ensure the appropriate lender is available for consultation.

Learn more about the City of Chicago’s business resources at


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