Illinois Office of Minority Economic Empowerment

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Illinois Office of Minority Economic Empowerment

The Office of Minority Economic Empowerment will focus and promote opportunities for all minority communities across the state through targeted programs, resources and advocates. The goal is to ensure minority enterprises have an equal opportunity to contribute to the growth of the Illinois economy and serve as an advocate for businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups in traditionally economically-disadvantaged groups.

  

OMEE Grants:

As part of DCEO's ongoing commitment to supporting businesses across the state, the department has issued $11 million in Minority-Owned Business Capital Grants, otherwise known as "OMEE Grants." These grants were distributed to businesses and business incubators across the state, with 20 small businesses and 12 business incubators receiving grant funds. To view a full list of grant recipients, please visit the links below.


National Hispanic Heritage Month – Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana 

DCEO continues to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated every year during September 15th – October 15th. DCEO has a series of webinars targeting Latinx business owners either in English or Spanish. If you have any questions regarding any of the events, please email Diana Alfaro, Latino Business Development Manager, at diana.alfaro@illinois.gov


  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 3:00 p.m., "OMEE Grant: Best Practices" – We will be discussing best practices for applying for state grants, specifically, OMEE grant. To register please visit: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eeee454aec05b5a5ea612ef491fb86752 Hosted by DCEO-OMEE and Office of Accountability
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Eira Corral Sepúlveda, Village Clerk for Hanover Park
      • Kimberly Hill, DCEO Chief Accountability Officer
      • Tiffany Hawkins, Cannabis Loan and Grant Program Manager

         
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 4:00 p.m., "Equity in Film: Latinx Perspectives" – We will be discussing equity in film. To register please visit: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e2f9a0ed3b4b16fef0845c55b6322ff94 Hosted by DCEO-OMEE and DCEO IL Film Office.
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Film programmer Raul Benitez
      • Filmmaker Erika Valenciana
      • Filmmaker Christian Mejía
      • Latino Film Festival Pepe Vargas
      • Peter Hawley, DCEO Deputy Director Illinois Film Office

         
  • Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., "The Brand of U & How to Work It" - A workshop on branding in today's COVID-19 environment. The workshop will cover how entrepreneurs can brand and leverage technology to pivot their business to work for them during COVID-19. Learn from business 'disruptors' on how to capitalize using innovative approaches to position your business for success. To register please visit: gr.pn/brandofu. Hosted by DCEO, GROUPON and LULAC - Latina Entrepreneurs NOW, in partnership with Latina Executive and Entrepreneur Network (L.E.E.N.), Mujeres Latinas en Accion and Chicago Latina Moms.
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Sol Flores, Deputy Governor of Illinois
      • Melanie Hellenga, VP, Brand Marketing, Groupon
      • Erin Guthrie, Director, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
      • Letty Vélez, CEO of Vélez Global Enterprises & IC Genius
      • Adela Cepeda, Chair, Angeles Investors
      • Lizette Espinosa, CEO and Co-Founder, Infanttech
      • Anita Padilla, Anchor, Fox 32 Chicago
      • Caroline Sanchez Crozier, Founder and President, CSC Consulting Group 

  • (English and Spanish) Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9:30 am – 10:30am  "Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) Round 2 (Programa de Subvención por Interrupción de Negocios (BIG) Ronda 2)"
    First half hour will be in English and the second half hour will be in Spanish. The Little Village Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the State of Illinois's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). We will be presenting information on round 2 of the BIG program. Please join us to learn more information on the program.

    La primera media hora será en inglés y la segunda media hora será en español. La Cámara de Comercio de Little Village en asociación con el Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidad Económica del Estado de Illinois (DCEO). Presentaremos información sobre la ronda 2 del programa BIG. Por favor, únase a nosotros para obtener más información sobre el programa.

    Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/y6n5vx8vPor favor regístrese en: https://tinyurl.com/y6n5vx8v  

    Hosted by DCEO and Little Village Chamber of Commerce. Organizado por DCEO y la Cámara de Comercio del Villita

  • Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., "Regulations, Workforce, and Finances" – Come here how to obtain applicable business licenses from IDFPR, how to hire and expand workforce, and business finances. To register please visit: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eaa1b61a1805868a0632fd8820084f4c5Hosted by DCEO-OMEE and DCEO-OET in partnership with the Greater Peoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Julio Rodriguez, DCEO Deputy Director of Employment & Training
      • Guadalupe Muchmore, Sr. Human Resources Generalist, Wittenstein
      • Tom Abraham, President of Small Business Capital, Byline Bank
      • Cecilia Abundis, Acting Director, Division of Professional Regulation, Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

         
  • Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., "Latinas in Manufacturing" – Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, National Women Business Month, and Manufacturing Month, this webinar will discuss how Latinas in manufacturing got into the business, pivoted, and expanded into leadership roles. To register please visit: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e0b15756d98d9c637b79c2c7a0dc9d0cbHosted by DCEO-OMEE, DCEO-OET and Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE).
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Patricia Mota, President & CEO, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE)
      • Brenda R. Wheeler, President, Jason Mechanical Corp.
      • Rosa Maria Barnes, HR Business Partner, The Kraft Heinz Company
      • Nancy A. Garcia, Chief Executive Officer / President, Noble Machine, LLC

         
  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., "Certification and Government Contracting" – come here about how to get your business certified and expand into government contracting. To register please visit: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec5e4abb62381a2edf8f299a07bc6b771Hosted by DCEO-OMEE, Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CMS-BEP, Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Erin Guthrie, Director, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
      • Kristi Dula, DCEO Deputy Director of Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology
      • Fernanda Pedraza-Schmitt, Branch Manager, Springfield, IL Branch Office, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
      • Irma Lopez, Outreach Manager, CMS Business Enterprise Program
      • Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Representative

         
  • (Spanish Webinar) Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m., "Certification and Government Contracting" – come hear about how to get your business certified and expand into government contracting. To register please visit: gr.pn/herencia-hispana Hosted by DCEO-OMEE, Groupon, Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CMS-BEP, Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Mujeres Latinas en Accion.
    • Speakers include but not limited to:
      • Ramiro Cavazos, President & Chief Executive Officer, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
      • Jaime di Paulo, President and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
      • Fernanda Pedraza-Schmitt, Branch Manager, Springfield, IL Branch Office, U.S. Small Business Administration
      • Irma Lopez, Outreach Manager, CMS Business Enterprise Program
      • Adrian Soto, Executive Director, Greater Southwest Development Corporation

        (en español) jueves, 15 de octubre de 2020 a las 2:00 p.m., "Certificación y Contratación Pública" – venga a escuchar cómo certificar su negocio y expandirse a la contratación pública. Por favor regístrese aquí: gr.pn/herencia-hispana Coorganizado por DCEO-OMEE, Groupon, Caucus Legislativo Latino de Illinois, Cámara Comercio Hispana de Illinois en alianza con CMS-BEP, Aurora Cámara de Comercio Hispana Regional y Mujeres Latinas en Acción.

        Los oradores incluyen, entre otros:
  • Ramiro Cavazos, Presidente y Director Ejecutivo, Cámara de Comercio Hispana de estados unidos (USHCC por sus siglas en inglés)
  • Jaime di Paulo, Presidente y Director Ejecutivo, Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Illinois
  • Fernanda Pedraza-Schmitt, Gerente de Sucursal, Springfield, IL Sucursal, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA por sus siglas en inglés)
  • Irma Lopez, Gerente de extensión, CMS Business Enterprise Program
  • Adrian Soto, Director Ejecutivo, Greater Southwest Development Corporation


October is National Women’s Small Business Month

In honor of Women's Small Business Month and Manufacturing Month, The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will be hosting a series of webinars geared towards women owned business owners to learn how to utilize national resources through government and the private /public business sector in order to succeed amidst a pandemic.

Partners Include:
Illinois Manufacturing Association
Groupon
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 
Latina Entrepreneurs NOW
Latina Executive and Entrepreneur Network (L.E.E.N.)
Mujeres Latinas en Accion 
Chicago Latina Moms
CEO of World Business Chicago
First Women's Bank
Black Women Business Owners of America
U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce


"Brand of U & How to Work it"
DCEO - OMEE, Groupon, LULAC - Latina Entrepreneurs NOW, Latina Executive and Entrepreneur Network (L.E.E.N.), Mujeres Latinas en Accion and Chicago Latina Moms will host a workshop on branding in today’s COVID-19 environment. The workshop will cover how entrepreneurs can brand and leverage technology to pivot their business to work for them during COVID-19, and will feature opening remarks from Deputy Governor Sol Flores. Learn from business ‘disruptors’ on how to capitalize using innovative approaches to position your business for success.

  • Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Register HERE
 
"All in for Women: BIG Webinar "
Description: Join Ibie Hart, the women's business development manager, to learn about the Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG). In this webinar, women owned businesses will learn about eligibility, program details, and the application process. Technical assistance support will also be provided for the last 30 minutes of every session. 

  • Tuesday, October 6, 2020 2:00 p.m. Register HERE 
  • Saturday, October 10, 2020 10:00 a.m. Register HERE 
  • Tuesday. October 20, 2020 2:00 p.m. Register HERE 
  • Tuesday, October 27, 2:00 p.m. Register HERE 
 
"Empowering Her with Resources during COVID-19 and Civil Unrest"
Description: Groupon and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity present “Empowering Her with Resources during COVID-19 & Civil Unrest”. We will discuss fostering an inclusive business environment that uplifts Women owned business with resources through government and the private/public sector so that they may succeed amidst a pandemic. This conversation will feature opening remarks from MK Pritzker and a keynote from Andrea Zopp, CEO of World Business Chicago. Panelists include: Marianna Markowitz, CEO of the First Women's Bank, Charity Marcus, CEO of Black Women Business Owners of America, and Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, and more. You don't want to miss this! 

  • Thursday, October 8, 2020 2:00 p.m. Register HERE 
Moderator: Ibie Hart, Women’s Business Development Manager, DCEO 

Welcome Remarks:  
Erin Guthrie, Director, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity 
Andrea Zopp, President and CEO 
Melissa Thomas, CFO, Groupon 
MK Pritzker, First Lady, State of Illinois 

Panelists
Charity Marcus, Founder, Black Women Business Owners of America (confirmed) 
Groupon Merchant (pending) 
Marianne Markowitz, CEO, First Women’s Bank 
Fernanda Pedraza-Schmitt, Branch Manager, U.S. Small Business   Administration 
Margot Dorfman,CEO, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce 

"Women Get Involved in Manufacturing"
Description: In honor of Women's Small Business Month and Manufacturing Month, this webinar will uplift women in the manufacturing industry through leaders sharing their insights and best practices.The hope is that students and community stakeholders will get a closer look at what it takes to enter the industry. 

  • Thursday, October 22, 2020 2:00 p.m. Register HERE 


OMEE Events:

The webinars are open to everyone; however, please note that there are webinars that do target specific communities. We are working towards conducting more webinars; therefore, if you don’t see one that appeals to you below OMEE or DCEO’s Regional Economic Development office may have one for you in the near future. Feel free to contact us at CEO.OMEE@illinois.gov.

Online with OMEE - The Business Development Managers from Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) are excited to host you for Online with OMEE – an open online conversation with OMEE constituents (racial/ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veteran owned businesses). We will provide you with the latest updates regarding federal and state programs, share information about other resources available, and answer any questions you may have about available state or federal programs.

For information please contact:

Diana Alfaro, Latino Business Development Manager (si hablo español)
Diana.alfaro@illinois.gov
312.919.3620

Matthew J. Simpson, African American Business Development Manager
Matthew.simpson@illinois.gov
312.520.0434

Ibie Hart, Woman’s Business Development Manager
Ibie.Hart@illinois.gov
773.951.8542

Tiffany T. Hawkins, Cannabis Loan and Grant Program Manager
Tiffany.Hawkins@illinois.gov
312.793.9702

Contact the First Stop Business Information Center Helpline at: 1-800-252-2923.  Spanish speaking assistance is also available at that number.

Follow DCEO on Social Media:

Twitter: @IllinoisDCEO
Facebook: @illinoisdceo
LinkedIn: Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

  

  

Program Partners