September 14, 2017

City Small Business Center Is ‘ON THE ROAD’ To Wright College

Keynote Speaker Bob Mariano Shares Success Secrets That Grew a Grocery Chain, Plus One-Stop Shopping For Entrepreneurs

Lilia Chacon Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (312) 744-5365

The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today announced its fourth Small Business Center ‘On the Road’ Expo of 2017 will feature Bob Mariano, former CEO and founder of Mariano’s Grocery Stores, as the keynote speaker.  Mariano’s Grocery Stores are a Chicago success story that made Bob Mariano a neighborhood presence and a household name. He’ll be sharing inspiring stories of what it takes to launch and grow a successful business.

“Connecting neighborhoods with free business resources empowers existing and emerging entrepreneurs to grow their business – and ultimately invest in their communities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Small businesses are critical to Chicago’s economic development, and these Expos provide direct access to vital resources and services to help residents grow their businesses.”

The free expo, taking place on Saturday, September 16, 2017, from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. at Wilbur Wright College Events Building, is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to help small businesses grow in every neighborhood as an engine of economic opportunity and ongoing development.

“This expo series is part of Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to supporting Chicago’s neighborhood businesses by bringing every helpful resource we have or know of straight to them,” BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareño said. “It will have something for all kinds of businesses and we encourage everyone to swing by and see what we have to offer.”

The ‘On the Road’ Expo series provides free, expert advice to all entrepreneurs on topics such as licensing, financing and business planning. During the Expo, business owners and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to consult, network and gather information from more than 40 government and non-profit agencies including the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, the Chicago Department of Buildings, the Illinois Secretary of State, and the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The Expo also offers free makeovers, professional head shots, a tax and legal clinic, consumer and financial help. There will be two free workshops following the keynote speech to help entrepreneurs learn new financial and legal skills. The complete schedule is below.

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Visit with vendors, get expert advice, and receive a mini makeover and free headshots.

Keynote Speaker: 11:00 AM – 12:00PM

Bob Mariano, former CEO and founder of Mariano’s Grocery Stores

Workshops: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Workshop 1:  Access to Capital: Helping Your Business Grow

Presented by Fifth Third Bank and ACCION

In order for businesses to grow capital is often needed but sometimes it isn’t always easy to come by.  In this workshop you will learn about traditional and non-traditional credit sources as well as how to best prepare for when your company needs it most. 

Workshop 2:  Ten Practical Legal Tips for Small Business Success

Presented by Lema Khorshid, Fuksa Khorshid, LLC

Running a small business takes a lot of work. Often, a handful of employees fill a variety of roles, meaning that everyone has to bring serious hard work, dedication, self-motivation, and multitasking skills to the table. Amid all this, it can be easy to forget about the legal aspects of running a business. However, attending to these matters sooner rather than later is likely to save you time, stress, and expense in the long run. Join us in this workshop to learn our top 10 legal tips for small business success.                    

Networking: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

A one-hour networking session on building and growing a business hosted by City Treasurer Kurt Summers

The Small Business Center ‘On the Road’ is a series of five free expos in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. The series is a partnership between the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Fifth Third Bank, Western Union, and COUNTRY Financial®.

The expo is part of the Mayor’s agenda to support neighborhood businesses and economic development. Each expo offers business consultants from the Small Business Center to help attendees apply or renew for a business license. In addition, the Center for Economic Progress will provide a free tax clinic and The Law Project will provide a free legal clinic with representatives offering 20-minute consultations.

The next and final event of the 2017 Small Business Center ‘On the Road’ Expo series is Saturday, November 4 at Malcom X College.

To register for an expo or for more information,, call (312) 744-2086 or For more information about the City of Chicago’s Small Business Center





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