March 15, 2012

Mayor Emanuel and Western Union Will Announce New Americans Small Business Series

Western Union to Fund Innovative Series Promoting Small Business in Immigrant Communities; Company Also Makes $25,000 Donation to Illinois DREAM Fund

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel today will announce that Western Union will fund the New Americans Small Business Series, an innovative series of quarterly events that will foster small business growth in immigrant communities throughout Chicago.

“Chicago has, throughout its history, relied on, benefitted from and grown because of the amazing efforts of its immigrant community,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Today’s announcements ensure that the next generation of immigrants in Chicago will be able to achieve their dreams, support their families, create jobs in our neighborhoods and help the city define its own future.”

Mayor Emanuel will make this announcement alongside U.S. Representative Luis A. Gutierrez.

“Investing in immigrant and Latino communities will benefit the city of Chicago and the nation because immigrant families, students and small businesses are and always have been the backbone of the city and are helping to build stable and thriving neighborhoods today,” said Representative Gutierrez. “The contribution to the Illinois DREAM Fund continues the vision of the Mayor and the Governor that Chicago will be a welcoming city and a national leader when it comes to educating immigrant youth.  When there is so much screaming and yelling about immigrants and immigration on the campaign trail, it is good to see a corporation, a mayor, and an entire city rolling up their sleeves and saying ‘What can we do to help?’”

The City of Chicago’s Office of New Americans (ONA), alongside the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), will create temporary one-stop locations in community settings to foster small business growth and expansion. Each stop will be a part of the New Americans Small Business Series, and will allow business owners or potential business owners in these communities a chance to get crucial information and advice. Learning opportunities will encompass how to start a small business, navigate the licensing process, comply with tax laws, interact with chambers of commerce, and more.

The series will be financed by a $30,000 donation from Western Union, which has committed to financing four events a year through 2014. This first event will take place on March 31, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at the National Museum of Mexican Art, located at 1825 W. 19th Street.

“Western Union is a purpose-driven brand,” said Luella Chavez D’Angelo Senior Vice President Social Ventures for Western Union and President, The Western Union Foundation. “Shared value, the idea that we can offer products and services that make us more competitive while benefiting and meeting the needs of consumers, small business and society – is at the heart of everything that we do. The New Americans Small Business Series and DREAM Fund will foster small business growth and help migrant students achieve higher education. We firmly believe access to financial services and education isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

The announcement will be made during a business roundtable hosted by Mayor Emanuel and U.S. Representative Gutierrez, at Mi Tierra Restaurant in the city’s Little Village neighborhood.

In addition to the announcement about the New Americans Small Business Series, Western Union also will announce that it will be donating $25,000 to the Illinois DREAM Fund, a scholarship account funded entirely by private dollars to help students without legal status obtain higher education. Mayor Emanuel lobbied for the Illinois DREAM Act before its passage in May 2011. These efforts will remove the barrier of cost, which prevents many immigrant students from achieving higher education. This is the first corporate donation to the DREAM fund.

“The New American Small Business Series and this donation to the Illinois DREAM Fund will make a profound impact on the lives of many new Americans in Chicago and Illinois,” said Adolfo Hernandez, Director of ONA. “It is our goal to make sure that all immigrants have the right to pursue the American dream, and programs like these pave the way for success and a brighter future for our immigrant families.”

One in five Chicagoans is an immigrant, and immigrants are 50 percent more likely to start a business than non-immigrants.



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