September 19, 2014

Mayor Emanuel, Whole Foods, Alderman Thompson And Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation Announce Englewood Entrepreneurial Workshop Series

Programs Will Support Small Business Growth Across Englewood and Help Businesses to Become Whole Foods Suppliers

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb, Alderman JoAnn Thompson and Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation Executive Director/President Glen Fulton today announced a series of workshops to support small business growth in Greater Englewood and help those interested in becoming Whole Foods suppliers to access buyers and distribution. In July 2014, Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Thompson and Whole Foods broke ground on the planned 18,000-square-foot Whole Foods store that will anchor a 5.5-acre “Englewood Square” retail development planned for completion in 2016. Today’s announcement was made

“Changing the physical environment is critical to economic growth in Englewood, but supporting local businesses in ways that allow them to grow, thrive and give back to the community is as important,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We developed these workshops to help minimize barriers to starting and growing a business and help local businesses to work with Whole Foods as it becomes a part of the Englewood community and its economic revitalization.”

The three-workshop series will bring immediate business training to approximately 150-200 entrepreneurs in Greater Englewood. Workshops will be held at Kennedy King College located at 6301 S. Halsted St. The first two workshops will provide assistance to small businesses in areas including licensing, safety plans, FDA labeling and accessing capital. Subject matter experts will offer presentations on topics most relevant to the growth and expansion of Englewood’s small business community, followed by a question and answer session. The third workshop will focus directly on engaging new, local suppliers to Whole Foods Market and provide businesses with an opportunity to meet one-on-one with a Whole Foods Market Category Manager.

"This workshop series will bring some deeply practical benefits: greater professionalism in small business operations and, perhaps more importantly, small business access to a large distributor. This is a proud achievement for not only the Englewood community, but also the City of Chicago," said Alderman JoAnn Thompson.

"It is very important to Whole Foods Market to support the development of new businesses in Southside neighborhoods,” said Michael Bashaw, Midwest Regional President, Whole Foods Market. “Our commitment to the area expands beyond the doors of our store and this workshop series is just one of the many ways we will partner with and support local businesses in the Greater Englewood community.”

The series kicks off with Entrepreneurial Coaching by Industry Experts I on October 24, from 8 AM to 2 PM. The following topics will be covered:

  • How to benefit from your Chamber of Commerce
  • Introduction to Business Licensing (zoning & licensing)
  • Licensing for Food Purveyors (shared kitchens, health sanitarian)
  • How to find a location for your business
  • Accessing Capital: Preparing your business for funding

The second workshop, Entrepreneurial Coaching by Industry Experts II, will be held on November 7, from 8 AM to 2 PM and cover the following subject areas:

  • Learning about Product Safety
  • Product and packaging development
  • Accessing Capital: Small Business Financing Options

The third workshop will focus on directly engaging new, local suppliers for the Whole Foods at Englewood Square. The Whole Foods Market Entrepreneurial Workshop will be held on January 23, 2015 and will include two parts -- a presentation from 9 AM to 11 AM and one-on-one meetings with Whole Foods Market (WFM) representatives from 12:30 PM to 4 PM. Topics covered in this workshop will include:

  • Who is WFM: Mission, Values, Commitment
  • Quality Standards: Overview of WFM’s QS for ingredients and claims, going team by team
  • GMO Transparency: Short review of our GMO labeling committment
  • Local Commitment: How we support local businesses and Local Loan Program
  • How to Sell to WFM: Buyer breakdown and Distribution
  • One-on-one meetings: These meetings, specifically for food preveyors, will follow Whole Foods Market’s standard format of providing intense, one-on-one training for entrepreneurs who have been invited to present their products to a Whole Foods Market Category Manager. Businesses must RSVP for an appointment as time and space is limited.

The City’s Small Business Center, The Greater Englewood Community Development Center, the Small Business Administration, Score and others will also be on hand to guide participants through the many resources they have to offer. In addition, Chicago Microlenders including Accion, Women’s Business Development Center, and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives will host an on-site loan center to provide one-on-one coaching as well as guide entrepreneurs through the process of applying for a small business loan.

"Historically Englewood was known for its thriving small businesses. At one time Englewood was the second largest shopping district outside of downtown Chicago,” said Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation Executive Director Glen Fulton, “Our goal is to Rebrand, Rebuild and Revitalize Englewood through small business success stories."

Businesses interested in registering for the Englewood Entrepreneurial Workshop Series should visit The workshops will be capped at 300 attendees.

Today’s announcement coincided with WFM’s Whole Kids Foundation and William Blair celebrating eight new school gardens in Englewood. In 2013, the Whole Kids Foundation pledged $20,000 to support schools in the Englewood community to align with the announcement of the new Whole Foods Market location at Englewood Square. That was matched by another $20,000 from Chicago-based investment firm William Blair.

The grants are supporting school gardens at Hinton Elementary School, Jesse Sherwood Elementary School, Johnson College Prep Academy, Kershaw Magnet Elementary School, Langford Elementary School, Miles Davis Magnet Academy, Providence Englewood Charter School, and Schmid Elementary School.

Across Englewood, more than $362 million in planned and completed public and private investments are driving growth and facilitating new jobs and opportunities for the community, including Growing Home, the only USDA certified organic farm in Chicago, which has expanded to 2 farms and 1.5 acres; the soon-to-open Hope Manor II housing for veterans; the new St. Bernard ambulatory care center on 63rd Street and improvements at and around the 63rd Street Red Line station. In April 2014, the also City broke ground to build new playgrounds at Lindblom Park and Murray Park. As part of those improvements, Lindblom Park will receive a new turf track and field.

City investments alone are expected to create nearly 500 permanent jobs, over 3,000 construction jobs, and retaining more than 500 current jobs, strengthening economic development and affordable housing, attracting new retail and jobs to the area, and driving additional private sector growth.