Tag: Minority businesses

Top ten stories from the North Branch in 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s a great time to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of the year. With that in mind, here is North Branch Works’ top ten list of stories from our service area in 2020.

As you read through them, please take a moment to celebrate these successes, especially if you are a member business and/or partnered with us to make them happen.

1. Our Executive Director Jonathan Snyder was selected to serve on the Lincoln Yards Community Advisory Council (LYCAC). The LYCAC meets regularly with the City of Chicago and Sterling Bay to review project status, including infrastructure design, and ensure community concerns are addressed.

2. North Branch Works helped member businesses in our service area receive $235,000 in COVID-19 relief grants and workforce development funding. We prioritized connecting our member businesses to grant opportunities as soon as they opened and helping them navigate the application process.

3. Despite the pandemic, our Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program continued upgrading homes so longtime residents can enjoy a high quality of life. We’re on track to complete upgrades in 20 homes this year (pictured below right North Branch Works Field Manager Reggie Hamilton installing a grab bar) and planning to hit the ground running in 2021.

4. Eight new member businesses joined North Branch Works this year. We welcomed Rockwell on the River, mHub Chicago, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, CharityWatch, SYNLawn of Chicago, the Alley Chicago, ACN Bookkeeping, and Vision One Agency. Please consider tapping into our valuable community network of businesses and nonprofits by joining as a member.

5. To keep the momentum going for infrastructure improvements for businesses on Goose Island, we hosted the second annual Goose Island Summit, bringing together about forty businesses with city leaders, including 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, and representatives from CTA, CDOT, and DPD.

6. One of our top priorities is the growth and development of minority-owned businesses in our service area. Toward that end, we built a wonderful partnership with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, which has incredible resources for minority entrepreneurs and businesses. Take a look at these features of Chicago MSDC, MBDA Business Center and the MBDA Export Center.

7. In order to support the growing business corridor on Rockwell Street, we convened a Rockwell Street Infrastructure Task Force meeting so we could get an update on an ongoing traffic study from CDOT and give community businesses a voice in potential streetscape improvements coming to this bustling area.

8. Recently, the Logan Square Farmers Market relocated for the winter to Rockwell on the River, a major win for neighborhood economic development. The Farmers Market will be open for business on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until March 28, 2021.

9. Vision One Agency produced incredible video features of our business members for our first ever virtual Fall Fundraiser. Please watch these videos that showcase Metropolitan Brewing, Guild Row Chicago, and mHub Chicago.

10. North Branch Works hosted Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox and 33rd Ward Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez for a tour of businesses on Rockwell Street. The tour included stops at Metropolitan Brewing, Rockwell on the River, and Guild Row Chicago (pictured right, co-founder Mike Healy speaking) as well as a discussion of the urgent need for streetscape improvements in this area.

Stay on top of the latest economic development and neighborhood business news by signing up for our bi-weekly newsletter. And please follow/like us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Thank you to our members, partners, and supporters for an engaging, informative, and productive year.

MBDA Export Center connects minority businesses to Africa

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Export Center is a dynamic resource that builds mutually beneficial partnerships between minority businesses and thriving markets in Africa.

Because 95% of consumers are located outside of the United States, international markets offer incredible opportunities for minority businesses and entrepreneurs. And by 2025, Africa is projected to have 1.4 billion consumers with an average age of 30.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce and operated by the Chicago MSDC, the MBDA Export Center connects minority businesses with commercial and government buyers, financing and bonding resources, and domestic and global teaming partners.

And if you are a minority business, you can access technical assistance across a variety of important business topics such as identifying new global markets, export referral services, export capital, and risk insurance.

Some of the countries you can connect with through the MBDA Export Center include Gabon, South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.

Prior to the pandemic, you could visit the MBDA Export Center at 216 W Jackson Blvd. Suite 600. Currently, the Export Center has pivoted to making all of its programming available virtually.

Speaking of which, the MBDA Export Center just wrapped up a major virtual conference, the 2020 Diaspora Investment and Trade Deal Event (see below right), which connected minority businesses with opportunities to engage with and learn from businesses and government officials from Africa and the African Diaspora.

Over the course of its five-year history, the Chicago MBDA Export Center has served over a thousand firms, providing business counseling and important connections to major-buying organizations in Africa.

And it’s an especially important time to make these connections: U.S. trade to and from Africa has tripled over the last decade; U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa now top $21 billion and sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow 7% GDP annually.

For these reasons and many others, Chicago is fortunate to be home to the MBDA Export Center. It’s one of only four centers funded by the MBDA across the country with the mission of ensuring minority businesses have access to resources that help them compete in local and global markets.

And the Chicago MSDC and MBDA Export Center recently launched the Pathways to Africa Initiative, which is designed to promote American companies doing business in Africa.

The MBDA Export Center is a wonderful resource that compliments Chicago MSDC’s work to certify, develop and advocate for minority-owned businesses as well as the comprehensive services offered by the MBDA Business Center.

For the latest updates, be sure to follow the MBDA Export Center on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

North Branch Works is proud to partner with the Chicago MSDC, MBDA Business Center, and MBDA Export Center in our work to grow, develop, and support minority businesses in our service area.

To connect with the MBDA Export Center, please contact Patricia Hanes, Director Export Center, 312-755-2553, phanes@chicagombdaexportcenter.com


Chicago MBDA Business Center, an incredible resource for minority businesses

During these challenging times, ensuring minority businesses have access to resources to grow and flourish is essential. And we’re fortunate in Chicago to have a wealth of resources available to minority businesses at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Chicago Business Center, located at 216 W. Jackson Boulevard, Suite 600.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the MBDA Business Center is operated by the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (MSDC), an organization with a successful history of growing and supporting minority business enterprises (MBEs).

The MBDA Business Center connects minority businesses with capital, contracts, and emerging markets. And it supports the minority business community by advocating on its behalf and developing partnerships with local, state, and federal government agencies, major corporations, and banks with the overall goal of creating larger and more strategic minority entrepreneurs.

The MBDA Business Center carries out its mission by providing workshops and consultations across a diverse range of business topics such as financing, bonding assistance, mergers and acquisitions, education and training, networking, advocacy, procurement, and export and international trade assistance.

The MBDA Business Center has achieved great success to date, having assisted over 1200 MBEs obtain $2.5 billion in contracts, $800 million in financing, and create over 5,000 family-sustaining jobs.

If you happen to be a minority business owner, we encourage you to take advantage of the resources available at the MBDA Business Center, which works with businesses of all sizes and can help you connect with major-buying organizations and successfully expand your business.

And if your business is looking for an equity partner, corporate trainings, and information on how to diversify your supply chain—the MBDA Business Center can assist you and would love to discuss partnering with you.

Prior to the pandemic, you could visit the center for appointments and take workshops. Currently, the MBDA Business Center has pivoted to providing its resources and technical support virtually.

And in response to COVID-19, the Chicago MSDC launched a new initiative, the MBDA CARES Act Center; it offers training, education and counseling to help small and minority businesses recover from the pandemic. The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance to American workers, families, and small businesses and preserves jobs in American industries.

North Branch Works is proud to partner with the Chicago MBDA Business Center, MBDA Cares Act Center and Chicago MSDC in our work to grow and support minority businesses in our service area.

To connect with the Chicago MBDA Center, please contact Dave Thomas (pictured right), Operator/Project Director, 312-755-2563, dthomas@chicagombdacenter.com

For more information about the MBDA Cares Act Center, please contact:
Reuben Hamilton, MBDA Cares Act Coordinator, 773-554-9338, rhamilton@chicagombdacenter.com and
Lenora Harris, MBDA Cares Act Program Assistant, 773-530-9076, lharris@chicagombdacenter.com

Image credits: Chicago MBDA Business Center