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Governor creates program to advance minority entrepreneurship


From Illinois Business Journal news services

CHICAGO – Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today the creation of a program to improve the economic climate for minority and women-owned businesses in Illinois.

The program is called “Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship.”

“We need to lift up minorities and women who have been overlooked within our society and are underrepresented in our economy,” Rauner said. “Illinois is one of the most diverse states in the country and everyone benefits by cultivating and celebrating that diversity. ADME is a step forward in creating an economy where minority entrepreneurs are supported at the highest level.”

Illinois is home to a thriving start-up and small business ecosystem. ADME builds on that by tapping into the potential of underrepresented communities. ADME will identify high-potential minority entrepreneurs and provide them with resources from start to finish to grow their business. The program will ensure these individuals and companies have the knowledge, tools, resources and support system they need to flourish.

The first year of the program will focus on minority communities in Chicago, Peoria and Rockford with the goal of expanding statewide. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will oversee ADME by creating an ecosystem of community partners for a tailored experience leading to long-term results.

“Illinois is creating a trail for minority entrepreneurs to succeed,” Jimmy Odom, senior policy adviser at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said. “A.D.M.E will open doors for these innovative individuals by supporting them at every level and providing them with additional knowledge and resources. We can give these innovative individuals and companies a better chance at success in a long-term and meaningful way, which will create a positive ripple effect in their community and across the state.”

ADME is a result of Rauner’s executive order to identify ways to increase diversity in business and the economy. It is one of several steps he says the administration is taking to support minority and women-owned businesses.

The members of the Minority Economic Development Council and other community partners are as follows:

• Jimmy Odom, DCEO senior policy adviser of Minority Business Development

• Julio Rodriguez, DCEO Office of Employment Training deputy director

• State Rep. Ken Dunkin – 5th District

• Emilia Deminco, Women’s Business Development Center president and CEO

• Terrance Hall, Metropolitan Planner at Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning

• Eva Brown, U.S. Bank, vice president and Regional Community Development manager

• Steve Hall, Accion, vice president of Small Business Development

• Erica King, vice president of lending, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group

• George Burciaga, Elevate Digital, Founder and CEO

• Denise Moore, Peoria City Council

• William Busch III, Gallup, Inc.

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