IL

The Agenda for Illinois’ Entrepreneurs

Small Business Majority’s Illinois policy agenda ensures that small business is at the center of a thriving and inclusive economy and advance policies that promote equitable pathways for entrepreneurship, with a particular emphasis on addressing systemic racism and sexism that impede economic inclusion and harm businesses owned by people of color, women and other underserved owners. The state’s 1.2 million small businesses employ 2.5 million people (about 45% of the private workforce), with firms less than 20 employees creating the largest net job gains.

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Illinois business owner addresses lack of cultural representation and starts Spanish-focused learning center

Vanessa Avalos noticed a need for bilingual education for young children in her community, and she immediately decided to execute on it. She launched Luna y Cielo, a play café and Spanish learning center to aid Latino and Hispanic mothers in raising bilingual, bicultural and biliterate children. 

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Leslie Allison-Seei

Leslie Allison-Seei has worked in the creative fields of promotion, graphic arts and package design for over 25 years. Her roster of clientele includes Haagen-Dazs, Bennigan’s, Popeye’s, MAD Greens, b.d. Mongolian Grill, El Pollo Loco Restaurants and TravelCenters of America, among others. She also serves as Director of Development for Northern Illinois Samoyed Assistance (N.I.S.A.).

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Illinois Small Business Council

Illinois Small Business Council

Our Illinois Small Business Council consists of small business owners from various industries across the state. Council members volunteer their time and entrepreneurial expertise at board meetings, public events and in the media to help Small Business Majority identify and address the biggest issues facing small businesses today.

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Siri Hibbler

Siri Hibbler serves her community daily in various capacities as the founder and leader of several for profit and not-for-profit organizations including Field of Dreams Visionary Center, Inc., where she works with the homeless, ex-offenders, youth, disabled and low-income families to provide housing, career development, job placement, financial literacy, non-violence programs, addiction counseling and a youth STEAM program.

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Chrishon Lampley

Chrishon Lampley is a negociant, wine enthusiast and founder of LCS Entertainment, LLC, which features Love Cork Screw wines. Love Cork Screw is a lifestyle brand that launched six varieties in 2013. Since its inception, the LCS brand has been acquired by over 1,800 retailers including Target, Jewel-Osco, Walmart, World Market, Mariano’s, Binny’s, Whole Foods, Miejers, Total Wines and more. Lampley leverages her platform to mentor young women and budding entrepreneurs who can benefit from her lessons and her success.

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Javier Haro

Javier Haro is the owner of Food He.Ro, a Latino-led social enterprise culinary school that empowers food entrepreneurs and those interested in breaking into the food industry to learn the nuts and bolts of operating a successful business. Javier engages his local community of Chicago, consulting restaurants and food-related businesses, and working with local organizations and chambers of commerce throughout the city to bring much needed support to the small business ecosystem. During the pandemic, Javier launched 

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Evelyn Shelton

Evelyn Shelton is the chef/owner of Evelyn’s Food Love in Chicago, where she offers diners her eclectic fusion of culture, training and imagination to make the palate and senses pop with every bite. Evelyn and her culinary creations have been featured on: ABC 7’s "The Hungry Hound with Steve Dolinsky," on Windy City Live, The Black Foodies, in The Chicago Sun-Times, Patch Chicago, Black Chicago Eats, Eater Chicago, LISC Chicago, The Chicago Defender, Chicago Woman Magazine, Black Food and Beverage (blackfandb), and more

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Johnathon Bush

Johnathon is a passionate entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience running and managing a business. At the age of 13, Johnathon Bush started his Chicago-based business Not Just Cookies (NJC). As a young entrepreneur and passionate baker, he's focused on providing delicious, quality baked goods the right way. This spirit of “baking hustle” carries on today and is what makes Not Just Cookies Wholesale Bakery a different kind of bakery. 

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Rachel Bernier-Green

Rachel Bernier-Green is the owner of Laine’s Bake Shop, LLC. She initially started her business using a shared kitchen space, working on the side to get her business off the ground. After a few years of baking part-time, Rachel decided to finally quit her job and start a bake shop full-time with her husband Jaryd.

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