Kinzie Corridor News 

Find us on Facebook  312-421-3941   Follow us on Twitter   February 2012

State Training Reimbursement Ends This Month:
Get Your Application in by Feb. 17th to Secure Your Funds! 
The 2011 Round of State of Illinois ETIP Funding Disappears This Month.

If your company paid for a qualifying employee training between July 2010 and January 2012, we can reimburse up to half the cost through the Employer Training Investment Program if you submit your application by Friday, February 17th.  The application is simple and takes only 20-25 minutes, and ICNC is here to help - but you need to take action NOW!  "Hard skills" workforce training is eligible. Some recent examples of ETIP grantees include:

  • An electrical equipment manufacturer was reimbursed $4,500 for 80/20 Assembly training.
  • An abrasives manufacturer was reimbursed $3,000 for SAP Software training.
  • A building contractor was reimbursed $625 for LEED Associate Certification.
  • A floral company was reimbursed $2,150 for its employees' arrangement courses.
  • A design firm was reimbursed $875 for a seminar on managing creative staff. 

Contact ICNC and submit your application today!

Join Us at ICNC for Our Annual Membership Event - Feb 23rd
Given the success of last year's membership event at ICNC's new large community space, we are doing it again!   Join us on Thursday, Feb 23rd for a brief ICNC update, the election of our board member candidates for 2012, and the sharing of cocktails and refreshments.   Once again there will be free and convenient parking right across the street.    


          Thursday, February 23rd



320 N. Damen Ave. 


$20 ICNC members ($35 non-members).
RSVP here or call 312-421-3941.

Thank you to our event sponsor:
New! City Gives 2% Bidding Preference to Local Businesses 

Mayor Emanuel recently rolled out "ChicagoFirst", an ordinance designed to increase Chicago firms' competitiveness in bidding on City procurement contracts, reflecting a similar plan already in place for construction contracts.  Under the plan, the city will award contracts for goods and services to Chicago companies that come within 2% of the lowest bid, other factors being constant. ChicagoFirst's ultimate goal is to grow Chicago businesses and keep them in the city.



City Council Approves New Ward Map:
Some Changes for the 27th Ward 
 Map of the old 27th Ward:

Map of the new 27th Ward, effective as of 2015 Elections:

Maps: Chicago Tribune
The Chicago City Council voted January 19th to approve a new ward map that represents a compromise between two proposals. While the new ward structure brings significant change to some areas of the city, the Kinzie Industrial Corridor was more or less unaffected by the remap. As the comparison maps demonstrate above, nearly the entire Corridor remains within Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr.'s 27th Ward, though the Ward now gains Grand Avenue between Paulina and Western. The Ward also picks up large sections of Goose Island, the Near West Side proper, and part of the Illinois Medical District.
1871: A New Home for Chicago's Digital Entrepreneurs

The Chicagoland Entreprenuerial Center has leased a 50,000 sq. ft. space on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart in anticipation of 1871, a new hub for tech startups offering affordable space and business assistance. The center, slated to open this spring, will lease desks for single-person enterprises as well as suites accommodating firms of up to eight people, in hopes of eliminating the challenge of finding office space during a tech business's tumultuous first years. 1871 will be built with digital collaboration and visibility in mind, lending added momentum to Chicago's already bustling tech community (its name is a nod to the City's revival following the Great Chicago Fire). To learn more or apply for space, visit 1871's website.



Sign Up for FREE Computer Classes at ICNC


Have you checked out ICNC's free computer classes? Sign up today for one-time classes in Digital Media, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and more, all right here at ICNC at no cost! Click through or see the listing below under "ICNC Events" for class dates.



ACCION Raises Loan Cap to $50,000!

Microlender ACCION Chicago has raised its single-loan limit to $50,000 for existing businesses and $20,000 for startups, doubling its old amounts. The change comes as a result of increased federal funding to microlenders in an effort to grow small business and spur innovation. ACCION Chicago is part of the ACCION U.S.A. Network, America's largest microfinance organization.   


ACCION Chicago is one of ICNC's key partners in providing opportunities to Kinzie Corridor companies. Finance options, for both startups and established companies looking to expand, are available through ACCION and through ICNC's own Revolving Loan Fund, which provides loans of up to $12,500 at attractive rates and terms. For more information on accessing capital, contact Denise at ICNC.


More Opportunities for Capital - City Creates Small Business Lending Institute

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance on January 18th that will form the Chicago Microlending Institute (CMI), a first-in-the-nation institute that will train new lenders to make targeted loans to the City's smallest businesses. The CMI will administer the Small Business Loan Fund, a $1 million pool of loan capital that is aimed at supporting the smallest businesses in Chicago with targeted microlending.


ACCION Chicago will be tasked with running the institute, which will administer a training program that will train up to two additional lenders each year. Once graduated from the program, the new microlenders will receive funds from the loan pool as seed capital to lend to small businesses. ACCION Chicago and two new graduated microlenders will make approximately 100 small business loans in the CMI's first year.

Protect Your Business From Crime
ICNC has received reports of several thefts along Fulton Street in the past several weeks, including vehicle theft, as well as an armed robbery at a business on Chicago Avenue.  These incidents underscore the importance of security and caution in the Kinzie Corridor.  Businesses can better protect themselves with foresight and shared strategies.  Please take a moment to complete ICNC's survey on area crime and mail delivery, or notify ICNC if you'd like to share your experience with theft or burglary in the Corridor.  And as always, report suspicious behavior to the police immediately.


Illinois Holds its Job-Creation Partners to High Standards

A new study finds that Illinois ranks third in the nation in accountability for companies receiving grants and tax credits for job creation. The study, published by nonprofit policy group Good Jobs First, compares states' effectiveness in pursuing the economic development benchmarks promised by corporations in return for such benefits. Illinois ranked behind only Vermont and Virginia in this category, while it ranked first in online disclosure of such development efforts. The state landed 18th in overall economic development performance, due to perceived weak standards for new job numbers.


Free Tax Assistance for Chicago Residents - Save up to $5,700!
It's that time of year!  The City Of Chicago is offering FREE tax preparation assistance at several Tax Preparation Sites.  This is an important opportunity that can shed light on tax credits for which your family may be eligible.  Last year, Chicago's Tax Preparation Sites helped return more than $34 million to local families through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Even so, 25% of those who qualify are not aware of EITC, losing a refund opportunity of up to $5,700.  Don't miss out: find out more at the City of Chicago's website, or click here for a list of Tax Preparation Site locations. 
ICNC Opposes Proposed Lake Street Bikeway

ICNC will represent local business interests in opposing a proposed dedicated bike lane along Lake Street, between Damen and Central Park Avenues. 

The project is being designed as a safety improvement

measure, but may interfere with loading and unloading and create traffic issues.  The Chicago Department of Transit remains attentive to the concerns of local business owners; any such input may be relayed to Andrew at ICNC.


Free IP Legal Advice for Exporters

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the American Bar Association are offering one hour of free legal consultation on intellectual property through the International IPR Advisory Program. Small- and Medium-sized companies with concerns in Brazil, China, India, Egypt, or Russia are eligible to apply. Interested firms should complete this form to be matched with an attorney. Questions may be directed to Katie Van Geem, International Projects Coordinator, at [email protected] or 202-662-1675.


For export assistance, contact Steve DeBretto at ICNC's International Trade Center: (312) 421-3941.  

ICNC New Member Spotlight:
Duotone Design

ICNC welcomes its newest member business, Duotone Design! Duotone is a full-service visual marketing firm offering web, print, and packaging design with flare and taste. Their clients include the Adler Planetarium, the American Dental Association, and House of Blues Chicago, and they are a WBE-certified women-owned business.


Looking for a firm to take on your company's design needs? Mention that you are an ICNC member to receive a free on-site consultation. If your business decides to work with Duotone Design, they will provide you with 500 free business cards as a gift (printing and design included). What's more: if you refer Duotone Design to a potential client that spends $500 or more, they will give you a $100 Visa gift card to say "Thank You!"


To find out more, visit: www.duotone2.com

Excelerate Tech Event a Success

Excelerate Labs held a well-attended informational event at ICNC on January 25th. "Getting Started in the Tech Business" featured Troy Henikoff, CEO and Co-founder of Excelerate, as he discussed the details of their model and the Chicago tech community at large.  


Excelerate takes ten startup companies into its summer-long program each year, providing mentorship, connections, and capital through the development stage. Companies are then given the opportunity to pitch their concept to hundreds of potential investors. The program is now entering its third year, and is currently accepting applications for summer 2012. To learn more, or to apply to the Excelerate Class of 2012, visit their website.

Get Help with Your Employee Retirement Benefits

Need help managing or planning your employee benefits plan? The Department of Labor has free resources to answer your questions. Visit their website for answers to frequently asked questions on  health and retirement benefits, or to get information on an upcoming seminar or workshop.

Travel Grants for Export Marketing
Illinois's State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) seeks to grow Illinois exports by sending small and medium-sized businesses on Group Trade Missions or Individual Foreign Market Sales Missions to foreign trade shows. STEP one-time assistance will be provided on a first come, first served basis for all qualifying companies, for either an Individual or Group Trade Mission. The state has set a defined total for 2011-2012 STEP grant awards, so interested companies should take the first step now and apply to be an ICNC Small Business Development Center client. For grant program details and to browse a list of trade shows in which STEP companies will participate, visit the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment 


Take Advantage of ICNC's No-Cost Services for Your Business
ICNC can provide your business with access to the resources it needs
See how Chicago Flyhouse put SBIF money to work.
See how Chicago Flyhouse put SBIF money to work.
to succeed.  From business plans to export readiness, financing options to computer training., ICNC offers a wealth of services to the companies in the Kinzie Corridor.  Visit ICNC's website to learn how your business can take advantage of ICNC's no-cost services.

ICNC staff assist with the implementation of a popular TIF-funded program known as "SBIF" or the Small Business Improvement Fund.  SBIF is one of several grants ICNC facilitates to bring tax dollars back to the neighborhood and keep Chicago business thriving.  Click the video link to see how ICNC's access to SBIF benefited Chicago FlyhouseContact ICNC to begin discussing your idea for a SBIF grant proposal.

ICNC-Won't You Join Us?

 What did ICNC do for its members last year?:

  • Facilitated more than $1M in grants and loans.
  • Provided direct access to political leaders from Alderman Burnett to Congressman Danny Davis & Senator Dick Durbin.
  • Advocated for business friendly issues on behalf of members by serving on both city and state advisory bodies.
  • Assisted companies with city regulatory issues. 
  • Upgraded job skills with FREE training in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, QuickBooks, etc.
  • Provided business development assistance to new and expanding companies.
  • Increased sales through international trade assistance, marketing seminars and a business reference database.
  • Assisted more than 100 small business tenants in the world's largest incubator.
  • Presented a host of free seminars from SEO to HR Law.
  • Hosted a number of networking events.
  • Promoted member companies on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, WCPT & WLFM.
  • Shared conference room and computer room space at no-cost to members.
  • Gave out A LOT of FREE FOOD AND BEER!

Not a member yet? Well what are you waiting for? You can join online here, or for more information, contact Andrew at ICNC.

ICNC Upcoming Events
Sign-up for FREE Computer Classes 
Thanks to a grant from the State of Illinois, ICNC is offering on-site computer classes at no charge. Space is limited, so sign up today.  See ICNC's website for a complete description of classes.  Upcoming  classes include:
All classes are from 1pm-4pm
computer class 1


Thursday, February 2: Digital Media

Tuesday, February 7: Excel Level 1

Thursday, February 9: Excel Level 2

    Tuesday, February 14: Access Level 1

    Thursday, February16: Access Level 2

     Tuesday, February 21: Microsoft Word

Tuesday, February 28: QuickBooks

Click here to register for class                         
ICNC's "Meet the Neighbors" Lead Breakfast
A couple of times each year, ICNC hosts a gathering of more than 50 area business people to build referrals and educate each other about their goods and services. Please join us at this fun, free event focused on building your products awareness. RSVP to [email protected].

Thursday, March 8th
320 N. Damen Ave.
Doors open at 7:30am
Thank you to our sponsor:cole

Other Events
Licensing, Permits, and Inspections 101

This City of Chicago BACP monthly informational series will allow business owners to speak directly with City inspectors and permit specialists. Get all your questions about zoning, licensing, health or fire code and more answered in one place. This workshop is ideal for all owners and prospective owners of businesses requiring inspections, so sign up today! Call 312-744-2086 or email [email protected].


Next Workshops:


Wednesday, February 1st
Wednesday, March 7th

3:00pm - 4:30pm

City Hall-121 N. LaSalle St., Room 805 

Go Green and Save with Your Existing Light Fixtures: Free Energy Efficiency Lunch and Learn

DCEO Illinois Energy Now presents the Municipal Energy Efficient Lighting Options Lunch and Learn. This free event will cover DCEO-subisdized, maintenance-free upgrades to your existing light fixtures that can yield 60%-80% energy savings. Register here to attend (lunch included!).


Friday, February 8th, 2012

11:00am - 1:30pm
UIC Energy Resources Center
1309 S. Halsted St., 2nd Floor
Meet the Allies at Public Allies Chicago's Yearly Event

Public Allies Chicago and Starbucks Coffee would like to invite you to Meet the Allies, their premier informational event, on February 9th. Join us to celebrate service and to learn about the work the Allies do. 


Public Allies is an AmeriCorps apprenticeship program in nonprofit management. The program places qualified young people in full-time, paid positions at nonprofit partner organizations (including ICNC!) to build capacity, expand services, and foster civic engagement. In addition, the Allies complete a thorough Leadership Development Curriculum throughout their service year.


This is a wonderful opportunity to meet Chicago's future leaders, as well as many non-profit organizations, funders, and Public Allies Alumni. PAC looks forward to honoring this important work and thanking the corporate, philanthropic and community partners that have been instrumental in its success.


Register here for this event.  

Public Allies - Everyone Leads.   

Thursday, February 9th
Union League Club
65 W. Jackson Ave.


Social Media for Nonprofits

Social media is becoming an important tool for nonprofits to communicate with their supports, increase awareness of their mission and raise funds.  At the same time, there are many legal issues for a nonprofit to consider when using social media.  This webinar, sponsored by The Law Project and WilmerHale, will give your nonprofit advice about how to navigate the new world of social media.  The webinar is designed for board members, executive directors and other nonprofit staff and volunteers responsible for marketing, communications and fundraising.  Find out more or click here to register.


Thursday, February 9th



Technori Pitch: Chicago's Monthly Tech Startup Showcase - Discounted Tickets for ICNC Members!

Looking for the next big thing?  Technori hosts the premier monthly showcase of innovative startups in Chicago.  In the style of the New York Tech Meetup (which has launched startups like Foursquare and Tumblr), Technori Pitch is a catalyst for empowering emerging companies.  Held on the last Tuesday of each month, Technori Pitch features live demonstrations from 6-8 companies.  Each company receives five minutes to pitch their startup or new product, with a three minute Q&A from audience members immediately after.   


Register for this month's event online with the discount code council and receive 15% off your ticket price! 


Tuesday, February 28th


Chase Auditorium

10 S. Dearborn St. 

Public Meetings on the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020

The City of Chicago has embarked on the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 to identify a network of bicycling facilities that will ensure all Chicagoans, from children riding to school to senior citizens riding to the grocery store, feel safe and comfortable riding their bikes on the city's streets. Chicago seeks to identify up to 250 miles of innovative bicycle facilities that will encourage all Chicagoans to use their bikes to get around their neighborhoods.   


The City is holding a number of public meetings to present its plan. Attend one below to find out how the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 will impact your neighborhood.



Wednesday, February 1st 
6:00pm - 8:00pm, presentation begins @6:30
Sulzer Regional Library - Auditorium
4455 N. Lincoln
Webinar #1
Friday, February 3rd 
12:00pm-1:00pm CST
Webinar #2
Monday, February 6th 
6:00pm-7:00pm CST




Visit BACP's Small Business Solution Station

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection's Small Business Solution Station will be at the Public Vehicle Division Offices February 21st through 23rd between the hours of 9:30am and 3:00pm.  The Small Business Solution Station provides a full menu of support services and resources to current business owners and entrepreneurs. Solution Station visitors can obtain free business planning, financing and legal advice. Partners include SCORE (business counseling), the Law Project (legal advice) and ACCION Chicago (lending and financing).


Representatives from SCORE will be on hand February 21, from The Law Project on February 22, and from ACCION on February 23.  Appointments can be made in advance by calling 312-744-2086 or by emailing [email protected]. Walk-ins are also accepted.

Click here for more information.


Tuesday, February 21st - Thursday, February 23rd 

9:30am - 3:00pm

BACP Public Vehicle Operations Office 

2350 W. Ogden Ave. 



Understanding Health Care Reform

In order to provide the most up to date information on health care reform and employer benefits, The Taylor Group Insurance Agency will be presenting to the members and guests of The Industrial Council of Northeast Chicago.  From this event, attendees will have a better understanding of:

  • Status of health care reform
  • Grandfathered plans
  • Small business tax credit
  • Plan coverage and administration changes
  • Employer reporting and disclosure rules
  • Uniform Summary of Benefits and Coverage
  • How health care reform (PPACA) will affect their company's benefits
  • Concepts to maximize employee benefits while minimizing employee and employer costs
  • Utilizing tax deferred savings to increase their business' bottom line
  • Containing the risk of compliance issues from COBRA, HIPAA, ERISA, FMLA, and more

Wednesday, March 21st



The session will include a presentation by Devlin O'Connor.  Please contact Taylor Group Insurance Agency at 312-867-1100 or by email at [email protected].  



Affordable Space


 FCC building

Check ICNC's website for low-cost incubator space with free business assistance and resources, located at the Fulton Carroll Center. The site displays info on available spaces including prices and descriptions.

Current spaces available include a 3,118 sf. unit with a great usable floor plan, 14' high ceilings, plenty of light, and access to freight elevators and common bathrooms. Monthly rent is approximately $1,689 Call ICNC for an appointment to see this or other spaces



Other space available:

  • 3,320 sf. Great usable floor plan. South facing windows. Built out offices with lots of lofty, open space. Common area restrooms, plumbing, wood floors throughout, immediate access to freight elevators. Monthly rent is approximately $1,798
  • 902 sf.  Perfect studio space. Concrete floors, lots of natural light and easy access. Access to freight elevators and common bathrooms. Monthly rent is approximately $664    
Quick Links

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For more info call 312-421-3941 or email [email protected]


320 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL. 60612




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