The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has launched its annual Black Business Month campaign – developed to celebrate and support Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs across Illinois.
This monthlong celebration includes a webinar highlighting community leaders, organizations, and business enterprises throughout the state, stops on the Statewide Black Business Survey Roadshow, a campaign inviting Illinoisans to “Shop Black-owned Business Saturdays,” as well as company highlights via social media.
Additional information about resources and events can be found here.
“Black-owned businesses are key to our state’s economic success—employing thousands of workers, generating billions in economic activity, and providing innovative, high-quality goods and services to millions,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This Black Business Month, I couldn’t be happier to join the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in celebrating and uplifting the Black-owned businesses that make Illinois, Illinois.”
Throughout Black Business Month, DCEO is honoring the 141,000 Black-owned businesses that employ more than 175,000 people across Illinois, generating $8 billion in economic activity annually. Promoting and supporting Black-owned businesses through Black Business Month is an important step in addressing the racial wealth gap that continues to persist in the United States.
“Black-owned businesses not only provide employment opportunities that uplift our communities but also break down historical barriers so Black entrepreneurs can live out their dreams,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “As we commemorate Black Business Month 2023, we celebrate the visionaries who have stepped up and who are investing in our Black communities and beyond.”
DCEO’s Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) works to create an equitable and inclusive business environment for communities that have faced systemic challenges to growth, including Black business owners and entrepreneurs. OMEE hosts dozens of events and provides year-round support to Black-owned businesses, including connection with grants, technical assistance, and incentives to bolster Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned enterprises.
“DCEO is committed to supporting Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through a variety of grants, resources and other opportunities in order to uplift and spur economic growth among the Black community,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “During Black Business Month and beyond, we encourage Illinoisans to celebrate the critical role of Black business while supporting Black-owned businesses in their communities to spur economic development throughout the state.”
DCEO Black Business Month Events
This series of virtual and in-person events will provide participants with critical knowledge and resources to spur Black business success and development across Illinois. All events are free to attend; additional information and registration can be found below and on the DCEO website.
Wednesday, August 16 | 10-11:30 a.m. | Virtual
Community leaders from across Illinois will share information on creative initiatives they’ve developed to support Black business success. During this webinar, participants can learn about events and programs that have been implemented and how they can use these ideas to help spur Black business success in their community.
Roadshow – Presentations of the Statewide Black Business Survey Report
In February 2023, the first of its kind statewide Black business survey was released by DCEO and its partner organizations. OMEE will be presenting the findings from the survey in communities across the state, sharing insights that will help us support Black business development and improve the economy for all. There will also be networking and business resources organizations present to assist participants.
Rockford/Northern Stateline – State of Black Business in Illinois (Hosted by Positive Reflections, Think Big and Rockford Black Chamber of Commerce)
Friday, August 4 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Stephenson Business Service Center: 730 N. Church St., Rockford
Kankakee – State of Black Business in Illinois (Hosted by Greater Kankakee Black Chamber of Commerce)
Tuesday, August 15 | 1-3 p.m. | 908 S. Schuyler Ave., Kankakee
The State’s Black Business Month activities are presented by the DCEO, Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE). OMEE plays a crucial role in providing support to minority owned businesses of all sizes and types, including connection with grants, technical assistance, and incentives to bolster minority entrepreneurs and minority-owned enterprises. For more information on Black Business Month events planned for businesses, contact Matthew J. Simpson, the African American Business Development Manager, at Matthew.Simpson@illinois.gov or to learn more about ongoing resources and programs for businesses, follow DCEO on social media @IllinoisDCEO.