BACP Remote Small Business Expo Leans Into Community Business Partners to Inform and Inspire the Small Business Community

April 6, 2022

Free remote expo on Thursday, May 5 offers free business support resources to Chicago business owners and entrepreneurs

Elisa Sledzinska    312.744.1973

CHICAGO – Today, the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), along with sponsor Western Union, announced the first BACP Small Business Expo of 2022 will be held remotely on Thursday, May 5th from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 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 remote expo provides current business owners and future entrepreneurs an unparalleled opportunity to gain useful information surrounding business operations. The educational webinars will feature several Chicago Business Centers as panelists diving into vital financing and business planning tactics. The interactive webinars will allow attendees to ask questions specific to their own entrepreneurial journey.

“The May 5th remote expo showcases the importance of collaboration with our community business organizations to make an impact on Chicago’s small business economy,” said Kenneth J. Meyer, BACP Commissioner. “The expo will serve as a platform for idea exchange and give entrepreneurs the ability to attend webinars that are timely and relevant to their business decision-making needs.”

The keynote speakers will be Katie Tuten, Founder and Co-Owner of The Hideout and Joe Shanahan, Owner of Metro, Smartbar and Gman Tavern. For over two decades Katie has identified, supported, promoted, and consulted artists, musicians, small business owners, and nonprofit organizations. Katie is considered a highly respected leader understanding the intersection between art, music, culture, politics, education, and social justice. Joe has spent the past 39 years contributing to the shaping of Chicago’s music community from his post on North Clark Street. The family of music venues Joe and his devoted team have built has become one of the few remaining independently owned and operated music venues in the country. Katie and Joe were named 2021 Chicagoans of the Year by Chicago Magazine. They are co-founders and Board Members of the Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) and founding members of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

“Music venues are community spaces, collaborative by design. It’s also the common thread of entrepreneurship,” said Katie Tuten, Founder and Co-Owner of The Hideout. “That’s why I am thrilled to be a co-keynote speaker, to share with a network of current and future business owners how growth and staying power is built on relationships.”

“I have devoted my career to the performing arts sector, but the business takeaways are transferable to all industries,” said Joe Shanahan, Owner of Metro, Smartbar and Gman Tavern. “This keynote address is an opportunity for attendees to learn the operational side of business, from the day-to-day to preparing for the unexpected. Just like with music, we will hit the high notes and the low notes of entrepreneurship.”

Sponsored by 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.

“Western Union is committed to supporting Chicago’s business community by making resources and services easily accessible to all, especially to immigrant entrepreneurs who are driving force in the small business economy,” said Mario Hernández, Director of Public Affairs, Western Union. “We are proud to sponsor the expo and encourage attendees to apply their new learned knowledge into their business aspirations.”

The Thursday, May 5th remote expo will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

Welcome Address: 9:00 a.m.

9:15 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Panel #1: Ask BACP: Get Answers to City Licensing Questions
Presented by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Panel #2: Financing: Financial Fundamentals for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs
Presented by Allies for Community Business, BMO Harris Bank and North River Commission/Albany Park Chamber of Commerce

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Panel #3: Business Planning: Strategies for Success
Presented by Greater Southwest Development Corporation, Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Uptown United and the Uptown Chamber of Commerce

Keynote Address: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Katie Tuten, Founder and Co-owner of The Hideout and Joe Shanahan, Owner of Metro, Smartbar and Gman Tavern

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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