CITY OF CHICAGO HOLDS ‘ON THE ROAD’ SMALL BUSINESS EXPO; Expo Offers Free Resources from Nearly 40 Agencies, Workshops and Opportunity to Hear from Keynote Speaker Restaurateur and Master Sommelier Alpana Singh

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Expo Offers Free Resources from Nearly 40 Agencies, Workshops and Opportunity to Hear from Keynote Speaker Restaurateur and Master Sommelier Alpana Singh


The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today announced its second Small Business Center ‘On the Road’ Expo on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 1871 in the Merchandise Mart. The free expo, designed to support small businesses and grow entrepreneurship throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods, offers new and existing business owners the opportunity to consult, network, gather information and receive expert advice on topics such as licensing, financing and business planning.  The expo is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to help small businesses grow in every neighborhood as an engine of economic opportunity and ongoing development.


“Bringing free business resources to the neighborhoods ensures existing and emerging entrepreneurs have direct access to vital resources to help them grow their business ventures,” said BACP Commissioner Samantha S. Fields. “Small businesses are the backbone of Chicago’s economy, and we must support them by bringing resources and services they need to be successful. So, I invite all those who may not be able to come to City Hall to stop by our evening Small Business Center’s ‘On the Road’ Expo and get a full complement of services and resources.”


BACP licenses nearly 65,000 businesses in Chicago and holds over 100 free workshops throughout the year. The expo is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s agenda to support neighborhood businesses and economic development. The Small Business Center ‘On the Road expo is a series of five free expos in different neighborhoods throughout Chicago. The series is a partnership between BACP, the Office of New Americans (ONA), Western Union, Fifth Third Bank and COUNTRY Financial®.


The expo is free and open to the public. Nearly 40 government and non-profit agencies essential to entrepreneurship will be on hand to provide important services and resources, including the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, Illinois State Treasurer, SCORE, Internal Revenue Service, the Illinois Attorney General and more.


Free professional headshots and mini-makeovers, including make-up touchups and hairstyling, sales pitch training, consumer and financial help will be available. Business consultants from the Small Business Center will be available to help attendees apply or renew a business license and make an appointment for additional counseling at City Hall. In addition, the Center for Economic Progress will provide a free tax clinic and The Law Project will provide a free legal clinic with representatives offering 20-minute consultations.


There will also be two free workshops held following the keynote speech from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM. The complete schedule is below.


5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Visit with vendors, get expert advice, receive a mini makeover and free headshots


Keynote Speaker: 6:00 PM – 6:30PM

Restaurateur and Master Sommelier Alpana Singh


Workshops: 7:00 PM -8:00 PM

Workshop 1:  Access to Capital: Helping Your Business Grow”

Presented by: Fifth Third Bank and ACCION

This workshop addresses traditional and non-traditional credit sources and how to best prepare for when your company needs it most.


Workshop 2:  Measure It: The Value of Social Media

Presented by: Alumnus of Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Businesses”

This workshop tackles the issue of taking small business promotion beyond “likes” and reaching tangible goals through data. How to amplify existing digital marketing practices from SEO to paid search (PPC) and how applying measurable strategy to social media will boost overall conversions will be covered.


Networking: 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

A one-hour networking session on building and growing a business hosted by City Treasurer Kurt Summers


The May 4 expo will be held at 1871 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. 1871 is located on the 12th floor, Suite 1212 of  theMart (Merchandise Mart) at 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago. The evening location is home to 400+ early-stage, high growth digital startups and entrepreneurs.


The 2017 Small Business Center ‘On the Road’ expo series remaining dates and locations are:

  • June 24, 2017 @ South Shore Cultural Center – 7059 S. South Shore Drive
  •  September 16, 2017 @ Wright College – 4300 N. Narragansett Avenue
  • November 4, 2017 @ Malcolm X – 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.


To register for an expo or for more information, visit, call (312) 744-2086 or email [email protected]. For more information about the City of Chicago’s Small Business Center visit


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