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.

 

Events

Women's Small Business Month Proclamation

 

DCEO and CMS Presents: A fireside chat with Director Forde and Director Guthrie on Government Contracting and BEP Certification October 23rd at 2pm
 
Please join the Director Forde of Illinois Department of Central Management Services, and the Director Guthrie of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for a fireside chat around government contracting and BEP Certification. This event will increase awareness of the importance of government contracting and certification for women owned firms and small businesses. The State of Illinois prioritizes minority contracting and supplier diversity as a means of wealth generation and given COVID-19’s disproportionately impact on minority businesses, this presents an opportunity for businesses to pivot given the increase in government spending. We hope you can join us!
 
Register here: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef9104d2db721f08f2c9813ca7ab11c14 

 

Event: October 8 – Women’s Small Business Month Panel Headlined by First Lady MK Pritzker, DCEO Director Erin Guthrie, World Business Chicago President and CEO Andy Zopp, Groupon CFO Melissa Thomas, and more

About: Illinois is committed to ensuring a thriving and inclusive business climate providing women-owned and run businesses an equal shot at success. Like all minority-owned businesses – firms owned by women have been dealt a double blow by the ongoing pandemic. This places additional burden on women businesses – many of which already faced an uphill battle to success – including lack of access to capital.

That’s why the state of Illinois is kicking off this year’s National Women’s Business Month (runs all October long) with a bang. The state of Illinois is calling upon business leaders across all sectors to come together in support of women-owned firms. A series of virtual events hosted this month by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will shine a light on these challenges, and focus a discussion on ways businesses, government leaders, chambers and other decision makers can drive a more inclusive business environment that will help Illinois women firms grow and thrive. Additionally – ongoing COVID-19 business relief programs will be discussed – including the Governor’s Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program – which so far has devoted about $20 million, or 40 percent, in grants to women-owned firms, with more on the horizon.

The main event – October 8th, is entitled, “Empowering Her with Resources During COVID-19” – will include state of Illinois officials, banks, business leaders, policymakers, and more for a discussion on uplifting women-owned businesses with resources through government and private sector sources.

Link: Participation is free, and registration is easy. Visit DCEO’s webpage today.

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 "
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.   

  • 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"
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)
  • Nik Sweeney, Owner of Amani Nicol Wellness and Groupon Merchant
  • 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"
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.  

Moderator: Cindy Tomei, IMA  Keynote:  Erin Hallstrom, Influential Women in Manufacturing                              

Confirmed Panelists: 

  • Samantha Chmielewski from Custom Aluminum  
  • Megan Parsons, Director of HR, Libman Mops 
  • Melissa Lederer , MHUB
  • Annie Mouhapt, Mohop 

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

 

 

Women Webinar Wednesdays

Join Ibie Hart, the women's business development manager, as she partners with the SBA and WBDC to support women owned business owners. We will be providing updates, programs and resources available to empower women as they start, scale, and improve their businesses. This space will be available every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month with the hope that it will be a reliable place to gain information 

October 14 at 11am - Phyllis Shelton, SBA
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ecc5d7249639098b0c209861cdef870e1

October 28 at 11am  - Tasha Brown, WBDC
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e08b70c7839c30364a77ea0de5119ebbf


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

  • 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 

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