Empowering Entrepreneurial Growth In The Neighborhoods Will Be The Theme Of The 2020 BACP Small Business Expo Series

March 3, 2020

John W. Rogers, Jr., Founder and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments to kick off the 12th annual Expo Series on Saturday March 7th at Kennedy King brings free business support resources to Chicago neighborhoods

Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno today announced that the first Small Business Expos of 2020 will take place Saturday, March 7 from 10AM to 2PM at Kennedy-King College. Now in their 12th year, BACP’s Small Business Expos will focus its five expos and empowering entrepreneurial growth in the neighborhoods by bringing inspirational speakers, workshops and business support resources to five locations throughout Chicago. The free event is part of the City’s effort to support neighborhood business growth and economic development.

“Working with a greater vision set by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot to establish Solutions Towards Ending Poverty, our 2020 Small Business Expos will focus on empowering entrepreneurial growth which can create wealth for our residents by bringing free business resources to all communities,” said Rosa Escareno, BACP Commissioner. “With over 1,500 attendees in 2019, we are very proud of our expo series and look forward to bringing inspirational successful leaders and connecting with anyone looking to start or grow their business in Chicago.”

BACP is excited to announce John W. Rogers, Jr. as the keynote speaker for the first expo of the year.  “The success of Ariel Investments is rooted in the Chicago community,” said John Rogers, Jr. “I look forward to sharing my message of patience and discipline with the next wave of Chicago entrepreneurs.”

A Chicago native, John Rogers founded Ariel Investments in 1983 and today remains the Chairman, Co-CEO and Chief Investment Officer of the incredibly successful investment company. John’s investment expertise has brought him worldwide recognition, leading to his selection as Co-Mutual Fund Manager of the Year by Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance magazine as well as an All-Star Mutual Fund Manager by USA TODAY.

Mr. Rogers served as co-chair for Barack Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration, is a board member for McDonald’s, NIKE, The New York Times Company and serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago.

Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and Western Union, the Small Business Expo series provides free, expert advice to entrepreneurs on every stage of their journey on topics such as licensing, financing and business planning. During the event, business owners and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to consult, network and gather information from more than 40 government and non-profit agencies. Services include business licensing support, tax and legal clinics, mini-makeovers, professional headshots, sales pitch training, a consumer corner, financial advisors, and a tech lane with technology tools for businesses. There will be three free workshops following the keynote speech to help entrepreneurs learn new business skills.

“Investment in the community is fundamental to the mission of Fifth Third Bank,” said Nicole Johnson-Scales, Senior Vice President of Community & Economic Development at Fifth Third Bank. “We are excited to begin our fifth year as the marquee sponsor of BACP’s Small Business Expos and we look forward to supporting entrepreneurs throughout the City in 2020.”

The March 7th expo will take place in the U Building at Kennedy-King College, located at 740 W. 63rd St. The full schedule is as follows:

Exhibitor Fair: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Participants can visit with exhibitors, get expert advice and receive a mini-makeover and free professional headshots.

Keynote Address: 11:00 AM – 12:00PM

John W. Rogers, Jr., Founder, Chairman, Co-CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments

Workshops: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Workshop 1: Roadmap to Business Financing

Presented by Fifth Third Bank
This workshop will provide information on the pathway to financial success, including traditional and non-traditional credit sources and how to best prepare for when your company needs capital most.

Workshop 2: How to Create a “One Page” Business Plan

Presented by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago/Woodlawn Resource Center
This workshop will provide the basics behind cultivating and creating a working business plan.

Workshop 3: Boost Your Business with Facebook

Presented by Facebook
Learn about the Facebook and Instagram tools available to help you connect with customers, manage your digital presence, and grow your business.

Networking Hour: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Hosted by City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin

Attendees can participate in a one-hour networking session to help build and grow a business.

The 2020 Small Business Expo Series is made possible through a partnership between BACP and City Colleges of Chicago. The full schedules is as follows:

  • Saturday, March 7, from 10AM to 2PM at Kennedy-King College
  • Saturday, May 2, from 10AM to 2PM at Arturo Velasquez Institute
  • Thursday, June 25 from 5PM to 9PM at 1871
  • Saturday, August 29 from 10AM to 2PM at Truman College
  • Saturday, November 7 from 10AM to 2PM at Malcolm X College

“City Colleges is committed to putting Chicagoans on the path to upward mobility,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado. “Our relationship with BACP helps ensure that would-be entrepreneurs are connected to the resources to successfully launch and grow their businesses and invest in our communities.”  Among its programs, City Colleges of Chicago offers Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, a free non-credit program for small business owners seeking to expand that will be represented at the Small Business Expo.

To register for an expo or for more information, visit www.chismallbizexpo.com, call (312) 744-2086 or email BACPoutreach@cityofchicago.org. For more information about the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection visit: www.chicago.gov/bacp.


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