September 6, 2019

BACP Supports Chicago Entrepreneurial Growth With Free Events September 6 & 7

Women’s Workshop Series and “On the Road” Expo Target Neighborhood Business Growth; BACP is Recognized with Public Sector Champion Award at Women’s Business Development Center Conference

Isaac Reichman (O) 312.744.2523 (C) 312.805.9385

The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno announced today two free upcoming events to support Chicago entrepreneurs. On Friday, September 6, BACP hosts a workshop titled “Side Hustle Success.” As part of the “Hear Us Roar” Women’s Workshop Series, the workshop will feature a panel of women entrepreneurs sharing tips on how to turn a passion into a profit. Following the workshop, BACP will hold its “On the Road” Small Business Expo at Truman College on Saturday, September 7, to provide free resources to new and emerging entrepreneurs and feature inspirational keynote speaker Tigist Reda, owner of Demera Ethiopian Restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood.

“BACP has designed events with entrepreneurial growth in mind,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “The best way to support economic growth is by providing free technical assistance and resources essential to launch and grow a business in every Chicago neighborhood. We have experienced a growth in attendance to these events and BACP is committed to ensuring that business owners are equipped for success.”

Through BACP programs, over 5,000 entrepreneurs access free support every year. BACPs upcoming events are just part of the ongoing support the Department provides to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their business. In addition to five neighborhood expos, BACP offers free workshops every Wednesday and Friday at City Hall, covering topics including How to Start your Business, Business Licensing 101, How to Get Money for your Business and more. Entrepreneurs can also receive one on one assistance from experts at BACP’s Small Business Center every day.

In recognition of these efforts to support local small businesses, BACP is being honored with the Public Sector Champion Award at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) Chicago Conference on Friday, September 6. Dedicated to supporting and accelerating business development and growth, particularly for women business owners, the WBDC is one of 70 delegate organizations that BACP partners with to provide specialized small business support throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“WBDC is a national leader in economic development, providing capacity building and technical assistance to thousands of diverse entrepreneurs,” said Emilia DiMenco, President and CEO of WBDC. “Our organization and all of Chicago’s business owners are lucky to have BACP as a partner, and we are proud to recognize their service to the business community” 

BACP invites residents, future and existing entrepreneurs to attend these free events. To learn more about the expos, workshops and other outreach events hosted by BACP, please visit, call (312) 744-2086 or email

Side Hustle Success Workshop

Friday, September 6, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 1103

The third in a four-part “Hear Us Roar” Women’s Workshop series, this free workshop is designed for women entrepreneurs looking to turn their passion into a successful business. Moderated by Kenya Merritt, City of Chicago Chief Small Business Officer, panelists will share their strategies and advice on how they moved from side hustle to success. This panel will feature Alicia August-Wright, Owner of AVents by August, Cristina Vera of Vera Creative and Nicole Jordan-Reed of Nicole Jordan Catering.

“Women entrepreneurship has skyrocketed in recent years, creating jobs and strengthening our economy,” said Kenya Merritt, City of Chicago Chief Small Business Officer. “Women face unique challenges, though, as they work to launch and grow their business. This workshop is about supporting, empowering and celebrating successful women business owners while inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Small Business Center “On the Road” Expo

Saturday, September 7, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Truman College, McKeon Building, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.

Presented by BACP, through a sponsorship by Fifth Third Bank and Western Union, the Small Business Center “On the Road” Expo is a series of five expos in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. This expo will feature free resources for entrepreneurs, including 40 exhibitors, education workshops, tax and legal clinics, mini-makeovers, headshots, free sample-pack of business cards and license processing. Tigist Reda, owner of Uptown’s exciting Demera Restaurant, will share her entrepreneurship story as the keynote speaker. 

“I discovered my passion for entertaining guests and sharing my families’ culture through food,” said Tigist Reda. “What better place than Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood to open an Ethiopian restaurant? I am excited and honored to inspire other entrepreneurs at this expo, especially immigrants like myself looking to share their culture with Chicago.”

In addition to the keynote address at 11:00 a.m., the expo will feature an ongoing resource fair, workshops on Business Financing and How to Start a Business at 12:00 p.m., and a Networking Hour sponsored by City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin at 1:00 p.m. 






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