Ecosystem Building: Chicago

Small Business Majority works with a number of organizations in Chicago to support the local ecosystem and ensure that women, people of color and other underserved entrepreneurs in traditionally under-resourced areas have access to responsible capital, quality business advice and the support systems they need to build a successful business.

Small Business Majority facilitates ecosystem building work by co-directing the Chicago Inclusive Growth Coalition (CIGC) alongside Allies for Community Business (formerly known as Accion in Illinois and Northwest Indiana). 

  • Impactful Business Services: Small Business Majority facilitates impact measurement for local business assistance providers and reviews policy efforts and program investments to improve small business services in underserved neighborhoods. A key part of this effort includes SBM lead to develop, produce and disseminate the Inclusive Growth Toolkit for Business Service OrganizationsThis is a set of sensible measures, templates and guidance to assess the progress and impact of services in traditionally underserved and under-resourced communities for any non-profit providing no-cost and low-cost support. 

  • Industry-Specific Strategies: Small Business Majority convened stakeholders and small business owners in different industries to address solutions for growth, job creation and economic development. Small Business Majority led workgroups in the development of a report to provide recommendations in the industries of construction, transportation and delivery, food and beverage service, manufacturing, and the creative industries in the City of Chicago.

The CIGC coalition was established in 2018 to advance equitable and inclusive growth for small businesses in underserved Chicago neighborhoods. This ecosystem work builds upon a study that examined the ecosystem that supports Chicago’s small businesses titled, Assessing Chicago’s Small Business Ecosystem Pathways to Improved Coordination, Inclusive Growth, and Shared Prosperity. This study produced recommendations on how to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in disinvested neighborhoods, while addressing the racial and gender wealth and income gap of owners and their communities.