BACP Remote Small Business Expo Empowers Entrepreneurs To Grow The Small Businesses Economy

October 15, 2021

Free interactive remote expo on Thursday, October 21 offers free business support resources to Chicago business owners and entrepreneurs

Elisa Sledzinska     312.744.1973

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), along with sponsors Fifth Third Bank and Western Union, announce that the free remote BACP Small Business Expo will be held on Thursday, October 21st from 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. The interactive expo will provide business owners and entrepreneurs a forum to get expert advice, connect with industry experts and government agencies, learn new business strategies, meet other business owners and attend an inspiring keynote address. The expo is part of the City’s effort to support neighborhood businesses and economic development by leveraging local business support resources.

The expo will provide a full day of programming for current business owners and future entrepreneurs and will showcase a series of educational webinars on best practices to pivot and recover in a post-pandemic economy. The expo will also feature over 30 exhibitors offering one-on-one business guidance, thought-provoking conversations, and a platform for idea exchange. The expo gives participants the ability to attend webinars that are timely and relevant to their business needs.

“The remote expo connects small business owners with resources and tools while being mindful of the entrepreneur mindset. By offering business resources remotely, we have been able to reach more business owners and entrepreneurs looking to start and grow their small business,” said Kenneth J. Meyer, BACP Acting Commissioner. “We are modernizing our business outreach to improve access to business education programs like this expo, which provide important information on financing, licensing, and business growth.”

The keynote speaker will be Christopher LeMark, Founder of Coffee, Hip-Hop, and Mental Health. LeMark has been a voice for art, community, and mental wellbeing in his hometown of Chicago since 2000, creating music that features a unique and relatable sound that ignites conversation. LeMark’s mental health journey began when, after a mental and physical breakdown in a coffeeshop, he pursued therapy to address his mental wellbeing. This inflection point inspired him to launch Coffee, Hip-Hop, and Mental Health (CHHAMH), a non-profit organization that normalizes therapy and encourages people to address their mental wellbeing. CHHAMH’s goal is to educate and fund mental health services while combating food insecurity, serving hip-hop inspired cups of brew to fund free therapy sessions. LeMark is passionately building a vehicle of hope in Chicago and has been featured on NBC TODAY, WGN Daytime Chicago,, and Chicago Tonight Black Voices.

“Coffee, Hip-Hop, and Mental Health was launched out of necessity to address community mental health concerns,” said Christopher LeMark. “With a unique business model, I look forward to sharing my story of persistence and perseverance with Chicago’s business community.”

Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and Western Union, the BACP Remote Small Business Expo provides free, expert advice to entrepreneurs on every stage of their journey on topics including licensing, marketing, financing and business planning. The expo spotlights the renewal of the small business economy fueled by entrepreneurs and community partners.

“Fifth Third Bank is dedicated to revitalizing small businesses, the backbone of our communities,” said Robert V. McGhee, Senior Vice President and Community, Economic Development Market Manager of Fifth Third Bank. “As the marquee sponsor of the BACP Small Business Expo, we have the responsibility of informing and supporting entrepreneurs of their financial possibilities.”

Now in the 13th year, BACP’s Small Business Expo Series has historically brought business support resources to communities throughout Chicago. During the COVID-19 pandemic, BACP pivoted to provide remote, online business education outreach programming. As of October 13th, BACP has held nearly 300 webinars with over 30,000 attendees.

The October 21st remote expo will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The full schedule is as follows:

Welcome Address: 9:00 a.m-9:30 a.m. Webinars: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Webinar #1: Financing Your Business - Tips and Considerations Presented by Fifth Third Bank
Webinar #2: 5 Simple Tools for Transformative Leadership Presented by Dr. Angela L. Swain, MBA, PCC
Exhibitor Hall: 9:20 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Participants can remotely meet with exhibitors via chat and video to get expert advice
Keynote Address: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Christopher LeMark, Founder of Coffee, Hip-Hop, and Mental Health
Webinars: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Webinar #3: When to Set-up an Entity and Entity Choices Presented by the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Webinar #4: 10 Insider Ways to Use Facebook & LinkedIn to Increase Your Sales Presented by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Graduate Susan MacNicol, Founder/President of Strategic and Creative Marketing Inc.
Networking Hour: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Sponsored by the Office of the City Treasurer and presented by RBT Consulting and Absolutely Anything Essential

Attendees can participate in a remote networking session to help build and grow a business. To register for the BACP Remote Small Business Expo, visit For more information call (312) 744-2086 or email To learn about BACP business education webinars visit For information about BACP visit



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