Women's History Month 2021

Black History Month 2021

Women's HERstory Month 2021


"Women Breaking Barriers in Illinois"


The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will celebrate Women's History Month throughout March 2021. Led by the Offices of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) and Regional Economic Development (RED), DCEO will celebrate women leaders from across the state, highlighting their enduring contributions to society and emergence as trailblazers during times of crisis.

Women's History Month Events

  • Accessing Business Growth Opportunities
    Date: March 10, 2021
    Time: 11:00 AM
    Click here to register

    Women, especially women of color, not only earn less than men in the workforce but are also less likely to get access to capital for their businesses. Women own 28.7% of all businesses in Illinois and the majority are small with great potential for growth in both revenues and job creation. Learn more about resources for business capital to support women entrepreneurs, like the, BEP certification, SBDC technical assistance, and other resources to help grow your business.

  • Empowering Women Owned Businesses in Rural Illinois: How to foster an economic ecosystem of support for women led firms
    Date: March 17, 2021
    Time: 10:00 AM
    Click here to register

    Please join the Offices of Minority Economic Empowerment and Regional Economic Development for a webinar exploring how to grow, invest, and increase economic opportunity for rural women owner businesses in Illinois. For the past two decades, women-owned businesses have been the fastest growing segment in the U.S. economy, growing at twice the rate of all other businesses. Historic women-owned firms will share their success stories, and highlight best practices, lessons learned, and strategies for success to help rural women own businesses thrive. This session will share practical resources and information aimed at closing the economic gap many women-owned businesses face, especially in more rural parts of the State.

  • Government and Private Funding for Women Small Businesses
    Date: March 24, 2021
    Time: 11:00 AM
    Click here to register

    In the State of Illinois, there are nearly 440,000 women owned businesses with over 300,000 employees. Chicago has the most female entrepreneurs in the United States, it has a 30% rate of start-ups. One of the substantial hurdles for women owned businesses is access to capital.  We know that accessing funding is not always easy to navigate and we're here to help. Learn about grants and programs to help your business thrive. Together, this panel will provide you with a toolkit of resources in government and private funding to explore opportunities in some cases unchartered waters.

  • EmpowHERed: How Women Trailblazers are Shattering the Glass Ceiling & Leading COVID-19 Recovery Efforts in Illinois
    Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 
    Time: 2:00 PM
    Click here to register

    Please join the Offices for Minority Economic Empowerment and Regional Economic Development for a webinar exploring how women economic leaders in Illinois are driving COVID-19 relief efforts and economic recovery with an equity lens. According to the Harvard Business Review, women are better leaders during a crisis.  One study found that outcomes related to Covid-19, including number of cases and deaths, were systematically better in countries led by women. Women trailblazers in philanthropy, business, and government will share their leadership stories on combating the global pandemic and offer insights around how Illinois can build back better. This session will leave business owners and leaders with tangible tactics and strategies around how to lead during a crisis, and lay the foundation for future economic growth, with an emphasis on gender equity.