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Join us for ICNC's 2012 Boat Cruise!

ICNC's yearly summer membership event sails us past the city's renowned architecture along the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan. Join us on Sept. 6th for food, networking, and a two-hour cruise aboard the Summer of George.  Tickets are $60 for ICNC Members, $75 for non-Members, and $30 for Fulton-Carroll Center Tenants, and include the cruise, open bar, and hot buffet. The Summer of George is docked at 330 N. Wabash Ave., between Wabash and State.


Thursday, September 6th

4:30pm - 6:30pm

330 N. Wabash Ave


Register here or contact Dionne at ICNC with questions.  


Thank You to Our Sponsors:


Grant Money for New Hires: On-the-Job Training Program

A new round of On-the-Job Training (OJT) funding will be made available to employers at a rollout event at ICNC next Thursday, August 16th. The OJT program reimburses employers for 50% of a new hire's wages for the first six months of their employment, provided they currently qualify for unemployment assistance. OJT combats recession-related joblessness and presents a great opportunity to build your workforce, and allows you to make your decision to hire or let go of candidates as you would normally.  Dan Bianchi of CFL-WAC will be on hand to provide information and answer questions. 


Register here for the rollout event or email Ben at ICNC to learn more about OJT. 


Thursday, August 16th

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM (doors open at 8) 


320 N. Damen Ave. 

Last Chance to Apply for the 10,000 Small Businesses Program
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million national program designed to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital, and business support services. 

It's not too late if you want to apply for the 10,000 Small Businesses Program Cohort 3 starting in September! Click here for the application or read more.


Meet ICNC's New LIRI Rep

Taking over as ICNC's Outreach Coordinator and Local Industrial Retention Initiative representative is Ben Spies. LIRI reps act as liaisons between small businesses and the City of Chicago, connecting you with local leaders, training opportunities, and financial assistance programs, and helping you to navigate zoning and other City issues. For questions or assistance regarding these opportunities, including TIF-related subsidies, contact Ben at 312-421-3941 or [email protected].

Preckwinkle Announces Plan to Increase County Small Business Contracts

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle recently unveiled new initiatives designed to assist small businesses in securing county procurement contracts. A new Owner-Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) will ease insurance liabilities on small contractors, allowing them to allocate resources to jobs and capacity. Preckwinkle will issue a Request for Information to the public for ideas on changes to procuring surety bonding (a guarantee that a contractor can complete the work). The plan also includes new, expedited payment terms for prime vendors hiring smaller subcontractors.  Taken as a whole, these initiatives are anticipated to spur growth among small firms by removing the most common barriers to county contracts.

Quinn Signs Enterprise Zones Extension

Gov. Quinn recently signed a bill extending Illinois' Enterprise Zone program for another 25 years. The program, which creates special districts in traditionally blighted areas, provides tax breaks and other incentives to employers located in or moving to those districts. The new legislation includes a bidding process by which new communities can compete for EZ designation as older zones expire, without considerations of income and unemployment rates. This means that non-blighted communities may soon be eligible for Enterprise Zone status and associated tax incentives. The revised program will also credit employers for total work-hours generated instead of the number of permanent positions created, meaning temporary and part-time positions will count toward an employer's "jobs created" for the sake of EZ benefits.

Click to view Enterprise Zone 4, which encompasses the Kinzie Corridor.


Chicago has six of the state's 97 Enterprise Zones, one of which contains the Kinzie Corridor and most of ICNC's service area. Use this mapping tool to determine if your business is located within an Enterprise Zone. Email Ben at ICNC to learn about Sales Tax Exemption, Real Estate Tax Exemption, and other Enterprise Zone benefits.

City Council Approves Food Trucks

In a move implored for by entrepreneurs, foodies, and lunch-going businesspeople alike, the Chicago City Council voted last week to allow for the cooking of food on board food trucks. The new ordinance does much to protect the current position of Chicago's restaurants, designating "truck stands" in key business districts but outlawing the operation of a food truck within 200 feet of an existing restaurant. Food trucks must also be equipped with GPS tracking devices, so that both customers and the police can be aware of their locations. Despite its heavy regulation, sponsors hope the new opportunity presented by the ordinance will incubate a creative mobile food scene like those seen in New York, Portland, and Austin.


Need financing for your small business? Turned away by the bank? Looking for a creative option? LendSquare is a Chicago startup that allows small businesses to finance growth by borrowing money from their customers and communities. LendSquare provides a web platform, a payment solution, and the legal framework to make these community loans possible. Businesses host their loan requests on the LendSquare website, where individual lenders can pledge parts of the loan. Loans between $3,000 and $100,000 can be facilitated, with each lender contributing any amount, at interest rates agreeable to both lenders and the small business.


This unique crowdfunding model provides Chicago's businesses with loans they can afford, and allows even regular folks to invest in their communities. To learn more about securing a small business loan through LendSquare, visit www.lendsquare.com or call (312) 985-6165.

Don't Give Money to Impersonators!
ICNC was recently contacted by Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr.'s (27th) office regarding impersonators soliciting donations, by phone and in person, while posing as the Alderman or a member of his staff.  These people are not affiliated with Alderman Burnett.  The Alderman's office raises money only through official fundraising events.  If you suspect you have been reached by an impersonator, please contact the police.
Eleanor Foundation Spotlight: Women in Manufacturing Program at JARC

Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) provides free job skills training to working women in manufacturing disciplines. Through a grant from the Eleanor Foundation, women heads-of-household currently earning $10K-$40K a year are eligible for a free evening course covering quality control, MIG and TIG welding, forklift operation, OSHA safety standards, and financial Elanor Foundation logoand computer concepts. This 32-week program is intensive and hands-on, with job placement assistance available after graduation. Interested parties may attend an information session by contacting Patricia Arias at 773-751-7123 or [email protected].


The Eleanor Foundation is a public grantmaking organization promoting women's economic self-sufficiency. The foundation supports groups that provide job skills training, housing assistance, childcare, and financial education.

Need Quality Staff? ICNC's BES Placement Program Can Help!

ICNC's popular Business Employment Services job placement program serves both employers and jobseekers, matching dedicated workers with appropriate skills to positions that need filling. This service comes at No Cost to either party, and includes:
  • Advertising available job positions
  • Screening and interviewing potential candidates
  • Criminal background/reference checks
  • Computerized skill testing for new or current employees
Employers may submit this application to have their job posting listed. BES Director Priscilla Torrence is available for general inquiries.
ICNC Member News
ICNC New Member Spotlight: La Criolla


For over fifty years, La Criolla has supplied restaurants and home kitchens across the country with high-quality spices, blends, and food products, including fresh adobo seasoning and olives imported directly from Spain.  A family business built upon high standards of flavor, La Criolla to this day packages all of their spices in glass bottles to preserve taste and freshness. Visit their website to learn more about La Criolla's all-natural products. Welcome!

 South Central Bank Opens on Grand/Damen in August
South Central Bank is continuing their 47 years of banking by opening a new branch in August. The new bank office will be open six days a week and will have drive-up banking lanes and a parking lot for their customers. Learn more at www.banksouthcentral.com.
Free Digital Marketing Webinar Series - Social Mapp Media

Did you know that 87 percent of Americans have mobile phones, and that phones are their #1 most-used digital device? ICNC Member Social Mapp Media is offering a free educational webinar series on the latest trends in effective marketing. Social, local, and mobile marketing are quickly becoming the primary factors in a company's success, so tune in to these monthly webinars to learn how to leverage them to grow your business. This month we will focus on MOBILIZING YOUR BUSINESS, including:

  • Top strategies smart SMBs use with mobile marketing
  • Common myths surrounding mobile marketing
  • Real world examples of businesses using mobile to increase sales
  • Key considerations for businesses that are new to mobile marketing

Click Here to Register for MOBILIZE YOUR BUSINESS 


Social Mapp Media is a Chicago-based marketing company that provides high-quality, customized mobile apps, mobile websites, social media management and local online marketing services to small businesses and non-profits.

ICNC Events
Sign-up for No-Cost August Computer Classes 

 Upcoming  classes include:

August No-Cost Classes


MS Word

MS Excel Pt. 1

MS Excel Pt. 2

Social Media



Thursday-August 9: 12pm-4pm

Tuesday-August 21: 1pm-4pm

Thursday-August 23: 1pm-4pm

Tuesday-August 28: 1pm-4pm

Wednesday-August 29:12pm-4pm

Thursday-August 30: 1pm-4pm


 Click here to register for class                         

Other Events
Women-Eye Expo
Women-Eye is inviting local women artists, designers and business owners to become vendors at the Thompson Center Chicago. You will be able to show and sell your products to hundreds of new people each day. Women-Eye is here to help you to start and grow your business. To learn more or to register as a vendor, click here.


August 8, 9, and 10
The Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street 


Learn About Exporting to India Seminar
Find out how your company can tap into a young, growing consumer base in India that's spending more money every year. You'll hear companies currently selling there talk about how they got into the market and get a chance to ask questions about your company, product, or industry. Thursday, August 9, 8-10 am; $20. Details and registration here.

Thursday August 9, 2012
8:00 am-10:00 am

Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing
8430 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Main floor: Conference Room next to the Cafeteria

Business Development Workshops at JVS Chicago

Our colleagues at JVS Chicago are offering a slate of free business development workshops throughout the month of August.  Upcoming topics include Financing for Your Business (August 14) and Building Business Credit (August 21).  All workshops are held at JVS Chicago, 216 W. Jackson.

Save the Date: 26th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman's Conference Sept. 20

The Women's Business Development Center invites you to the 26th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman's Conference, the oldest conference for women in business in the country, and the premier event for women business owners in the Midwest. This year's conference will be held Thursday, September 20, 2012 at McCormick Place West in Chicago. The Conference offers women business owners real-world solutions to the current problems they are facing and the opportunity to increase the profitability of their businesses by building relationships with buyers, business experts, and other women business owners.


Registration is available here. Please visit the conference website for updates as we get closer to September.

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.






 Space available:

  • 10,485 sf. Great usable floor plan. West facing windows, private rest room, cement floors, 3 entrances-one overhead door, access to loading dock. 14' ceilings. Monthly rent is approximately $6,083   
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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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