May 3, 2019

Chicago's Small Business Center Is “On The Road” To Arturo Velasquez Institute Saturday, May 4, 2019

Keynote Speaker Alejandro Castro, President “La Guadalupana Foods”, Inspires And Motivates With A Success Story Written Across Three Generations

Isaac Reichman (O) 312.744.5365 (C) 312.805.9385

Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno announced today that the second of five annual Small Business Center “On the Road” Expos of 2019 will take place Saturday, May 4 from 10am – 2pm at the Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave., Chicago.  The Expo keynote speaker will be Alejandro Castro, president of La Guadalupana, a Mexican food manufacturing company in Little Village. The free event is part of the City’s effort to support neighborhood businesses and economic development.

“The ‘On the Road’ series is designed to take all of the resources available at City Hall into the city’s neighborhoods,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “We want to encourage anyone with a business or a business dream to get what they need to launch, grow and thrive.”

La Guadalupana is a family business that started as a neighborhood bakery in 1945 and expanded into a Mexican food manufacturing company with clients like Wal-Mart, Jewel and Mariano’s. Castro’s leadership has focused the company’s tamale and masa business on manufacturing, distribution and a new frozen food line.

“The success of La Guadalupana is rooted in Chicago’s neighborhoods and that authenticity has helped us expand into a national brand,” says President Alejandro Castro. “We could never have become the company we are without the continued support of the city and its residents.”

The goal of the Small Business Center ”On the Road” Expo series is to provide free, expert advice to all entrepreneurs 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, including the Chicago Department of Procurement Services and the Illinois Secretary of State. Additional services include consultants from the Small Business Center to help attendees apply for or renew a business license, representatives from Ladder Up/Center for Economic Progress to provide a free tax clinic and The Community Law Project will provide a free 20-minute legal consultation.

The Expo also offers free mini-makeovers by technicians from the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, professional head shots, 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, including one in Spanish. The complete schedule is below.

Vendor Fair: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

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

Keynote Speaker: 11:00 AM – 11:30 PM

Alejandro Castro, President “La Guadalupana”

Workshops: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Workshop 1: 

Roadmap to Business Financing

Presented by Fifth Third Bank and Accion Chicago

In order for businesses to start or grow, financing is often needed. Attend this workshop and you will obtain the pathway to financial success including traditional and nontraditional credit sources and how to best prepare for when your company needs capital most.

2nd Floor, Room 2209

Workshop 2: 

Como Lanzar Su Negocio En Illinois (Workshop Presented in Spanish)

Presentador: Economic Strategies Development Corporation (ESDC)

Este taller ayuda a personas que quieren empezar un negocio entender los muchos pasos y requisitos para iniciar su negocio en Illinois. Temas incluyen; cómo desarrollar un plan de negocios, estructuras empresarial, proceso de registro, y cómo financiar su negocio.

2nd Floor, Room 2210

Workshop 3: 

Small Business Resources

Presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. SBA helps start, build, and grow businesses. The agency aids, counsels, assists, and protects the interests of small business concerns.  This workshop will cover available resources, programs, and services offered by the agency and its partners.  Wherever you are in starting or growing your business, the SBA and its partners offer support and tools. Learn about entrepreneurial development courses, funding resources, contracting, and counseling.  Gain the knowledge to plan, launch, manage, and grow your business!

2nd Floor, Room 2211

Networking: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Attendees can participate in a one-hour networking session on building and growing a business, hosted by City Treasurer Kurt Summers.

The Small Business Center “On the Road” Expo 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®.

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



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