Governor Opens Minority Entrepreneurship Program Applications (8/24/2016)

Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship program will help make economy work for everyone

PEORIA – Governor Bruce Rauner announced today, at the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce annual conference in Peoria, that applications for the Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME) program are now being accepted.

“We need the Illinois economy to work for everyone, regardless of race or gender,” Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said. “Providing new opportunities for our entrepreneurs who may not have access to a traditional business education, networks or capital is critical and ADME will do just that.”

ADME will identify high-potential minority entrepreneurs and provide them with resources to start and grow their business. Governor Rauner announced the program in February. It is run by the Illinois Department of Commerce with collaboration from Intersect Illinois.

Program participants will be selected through a competitive application process, including the Entrepreneurial Profile 10 assessment, a research based talent assessment designed specifically to measure and help develop an individual’s innate entrepreneurial talent created and administered by Gallup. ADME pairs the EP10’s predictive power with resources and support to help minority entrepreneurs thrive. Selected applicants will receive access to education and training, capital, an entrepreneurial support system, connections to Illinois’ business community and other tools.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners drive job creation in their communities, creating two out of every three new jobs in our economy,” Illinois Department of Commerce Acting Director Sean McCarthy said.  “By providing targeted resources for minority entrepreneurs, we can support the start and growth of new businesses that will create jobs in historically underserved and marginalized communities.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce will develop and administer ADME’s training and facilitate investment opportunities through the Department’s Advantage Illinois program and community partners. Intersect Illinois, in addition to hosting the ADME website, will manage applications and assist with program marketing.

“Illinois’ diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” Intersect Illinois CEO Jim Schultz said. “We need to invest in cultivating our state’s diverse talents. Intersect Illinois is proud to be a partner in piloting this unique entrepreneurship program.”

“After months of working with Gallup and our community partners, we are excited to begin accepting applications for the first ADME cohort,” said Jimmy Odom, Senior Policy Adviser for DCEO who runs the ADME program. “With unprecedented access to mentoring from Illinois’ business leaders and assistance obtaining targeted capital, ADME is a fantastic opportunity, and I strongly encourage motivated entrepreneurs to apply.”

The first year of the program will focus on minority communities, including women and veterans, in Chicago, Peoria and Rockford with the goal of expanding statewide.  ADME is part of the Rauner Administration’s commitment to support minority and women-owned businesses and increase diversity in businesses and within the Illinois economy.

Applications are available online at and will close October 23, 2016.

Earlier today in Chicago, Governor Rauner announced the Administration has identified its first sheltered market in the IT industry, an industry where CMS has found a history of discrimination against women, minority, and people with a disability-owned businesses. A sheltered market is a state contract that only businesses owned by women, minorities and people with disabilities will be able to bid on.

Video of the event will be posted here.