Near West Side News 

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In This Issue:
Neighborhood News
Grants and Incentives Available
ICNC Events
Member News
Water Main Work on Carroll, Wolcott, and Wood

Chicago's Department of Water Management has begun a new project to replace the aging water mains beneath parts of Carroll, Wolcott, and Wood Avenues. The work will involve street closures and no parking notices during working hours only, though the Department insists that employees will have access to their places of business at all times.


The work will begin at the intersection of Damen and Leavitt, and will continue eastward from there along the blocks in blue on this map. Work is expected to be completed by late September.

All questions and concerns will be fielded by the Department's Assistant Commissioner Tom LaPorte directly at 312-742-1021. ICNC will share project information as it becomes available.

Bike Share Coming to Kinzie Corridor

Near West Side commuters will soon have a new way to get to work. The city plans to install a handful of bike  rental stations in the Kinzie Corridor as part of Divvy, its new bike sharing service to be rolled out this month. Customers pay a regular membership fee to check bikes out from one station and return them to another at the end of their ride. The city plans to install 300 stations this summer, with three stations near the Morgan Green Line stop due at roll out and stations on Damen and Ashland due in several weeks. See a Station Map here or Visit Divvy's website.

Bus Rapid Transit Proposal on Ashland


A reminder: if you have not yet engaged with ICNC staff regarding the CTA's proposed Bus Rapid Transit project on Ashland Avenue, we want to hear from you. The project seeks to replace one lane of traffic in each direction with a bus-only lane, and to remove left turns off of Ashland from all or most intersections. ICNC is actively lobbying for design changes from CTA, but we need data from our Members. Please call Ben at (312) 421-3941 to discuss Bus Rapid Transit.

ICNC's No-Cost Skills Training 

One-day sessions in Essential Skills for Managers and Improving Internal Workplace Communication are available at no cost to Kinzie Industrial Corridor companies through Chicago's TIFWorks program. seats are limited, so act now to take advantage of this unique training opportunity!  




For questions, contact Priscilla Torrence at (312) 421-3941 or


Grants, Incentives, and Subsidies Available Now


At any given time, ICNC has access to several grant and

subsidy opportunities for its small business Members. These programs have the potential to grow your workforce, your export opportunities, or your capital investments, and provide public benefit by creating jobs and reducing blight. All are subject to their own eligibility requirements.


Current Opportunities Available:


State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP): Reimburses 50-75% of travel and exhibition costs at foreign trade shows.


On-the-Job Training (OJT): Reimburses up to 50% of a new hire's wages for their first 6 months.


Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP): Reimburses up to 50% of qualified employee training sessions in new equipment, industry-related software, ISO and LEED, and more.


TIFWorks: Free workforce training programs to companies located in designated TIF Districts.


Empowerment Zone Benefits: Federal tax credits of up to $3,000 per employee for employing people from the neighborhood (business must also be located in the Empowerment Zone).


Work Opportunity Tax Credits: Federal tax credits between $1,200 and $9,600 per employee for hiring from targeted groups like veterans, ex-felons, and SNAP recipients.


For information on how to take advantage of these opportunities, call us at (312) 421-3941.

Foreign Trade Show Costs Subsidized Through STEP

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at ICNC is pleased to announce that seven ICNC companies have taken advantage of the state's export promotion grants this year so far. These companies have used or will be using the STEP export promotion funds to go on international sales missions to Germany, Austria, China, Brazil and Mexico. In addition, one company has used STEP funds to get their products the European Union's CE safety certification.


The State Trade Export Promotion Program (STEP), sponsored by the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, can reimburse 50-75% of travel and exhibition costs for exporting companies at a foreign trade show.  Participants may elect to join a contingent of Illinois businesses exhibiting on one of several sanctioned trade missions, or submit their own proposal for a solo trade mission to a show of their choosing.  Eligible costs include exhibitor fees, airfare, hotel, and some matchmaking services.  STEP may also cover product certification for foreign markets, such as CE and UL Canada marks.  


For more information and to take advantage of STEP, contact ICNC International Trade Center Director Laura Flamm.

ETIP: 50% of Your Training Costs Reimbursed
To date in 2013, ICNC and our partners at CFL-WAC have returned over $19,000 to eight Kinzie Corridor companies through the Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP). ETIP can reimburse up to half of the cost of eligible employee trainings in equipment, safety, process improvement, and more, whether done through an external vendor or an on-staff trainer. To find out how your company can use ETIP to recoup its training costs, email or call 312-421-3941.


Now's the Time to Contribute to ICNC
ICNC supports local businesses. We do that by advocating for a better neighborhood, better infrastructure, and better policies. We also provide the guidance new and growing businesses need to achieve their goals. Along the way, those businesses create good jobs, act as good neighbors, and become the vendors and customers of the next generation of entrepreneurs. And the only reason we succeed is because of your support to ICNC. We're adding a "donate to ICNC" button to the newsletter to give you a chance to help fund our efforts. If you like what we do and want to be an even bigger part of it, please consider donating. You can click here to give or click on the button at the top of this and future newsletters. As always, we are grateful for your support.

ICNC Events

All events below are free of charge and held at ICNC, 320 N. Damen Ave.
The Basics of Pay Per Click Advertising:  
Wednesday, June 12th, 9:00am-11:00am  
Rod Holmes from Chicago Style SEO gives basic guidelines and answers questions on how to make your web marketing campaign successful. 

FCC building
ICNC Business Incubator Tour 
Thursday, June 13th, 2:00pm-4:00pm 
Bring your walking shoes and tour what is believed to be the largest nonprofit business incubator in the country. With more than 120 companies on site, you'll meet and sample the products of a range of entrepreneurs including bakers, distillers, coffee roasters, and more. Plus, learn about the no charge assistance they receive from the on-site Small Business Development Center, International Trade Center, and other city and state funded programs. Space is limited!

Secrets of the Big Deal 
Wednesday, June 19th, 9:00am-11:00am      
Ever wonder how some entrepreneurs can find ways of working with the City, State and Federal programs to fund multi-million dollar projects?  Learn from a panel of experts how you too can work with TIF programs, New Market Tax Credits and the SBA to fund your own project!

                                          Register Here 

(Creative Commons) 
Exporting 101
Tuesday, June 25th, 8:30am-10:30am 
Have you considered exporting, but aren't sure of the first steps ? Wondering how to turn a few international orders into a successful export business? This breakfast seminar will give you a clear overview of the most important things to consider when entering a foreign market, the basic ways to develop your export business and the essentials of shipping products internationally.  Presented by the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at ICNC. 
CPR/AED Certification at ICNC
Thursday, June 20th, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Receive CPR and AED certification through the American Heart Association's Heartsaver program. This one-time, three-hour course will cover CPR techniques and defibrillator use, with certification card valid for two years. Program fee includes take-home book. Administered by Safety By Design Consultant Services.

Fee: $40 including take-home book.

Sign-up for No-Cost  Computer Classes 
Thanks  to a grant from the State of Illinois, ICNC offers on-site computer classes at no charge. Space is limited, so sign up today. Get your employees trained in Quickbooks, Excel, Powerpoint, and more. See ICNC's website for a complete description of classes.    
All classes are held at ICNC: 320 N. Damen Ave.


MS Excel 1

MS Excel 2

Create a Blog/Website in Wordpress

Digital Marketing 101

MS Word

MS PowerPoint

MS Access

Intro to Quickbooks 

Tuesday-June 4: 1pm-4pm

Thursday-June 6: 1pm-4pm

Tuesday-June 11: 12pm-4pm

Thursday-June 13: 1pm-4pm

Tuesday-June 18: 12pm-4pm

Thursday-June 20: 12pm-4pm

Tuesday-June 25: 1pm-4pm

Thursday-June 27: 1pm-4pm


Click here to register for class           


ICNC Membership Cruise: Friday, August 23rd
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave. 

Join us on Friday, August 23rd for food, networking, and a two-hour cruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago at Navy Pier!  View Chicago's world-famous skyline, from the Sears Tower, to the John Hancock, to the Museum Campus, Aon Center and more.


Our summer membership event is a great opportunity to network with fellow members of our business community.   Registration includes a two-hour cruise, open bar, and hot buffet.


         $65 for ICNC Members                     Boarding begins at 2:30pm.
         $85 for non Members                        Boat leaves promptly at 3:30pm.

         $40 for FCC tenants                          


Save-the-Date-September 13
SBDC Spotlight : My Virtual Admin

Need an Event Planner? Bookkeeper? Data manager? Researcher? But can't seem to find room in the budget? Then you need a Virtual Assistant! A Virtual Assistant is a highly trained and skilled administrative professional who works in a collaborative partnership with successful small business owners, entrepreneurs, and non-profits providing administrative support and personal concierge services, without having to be physically present in your office. For more information contact My Virtual Admin representative Claudia Telles at or call (773) 245-6939. 


Member Announcements
  • Shawnimals creator Shawn Smith has started a new venture called Resketch, where he collects and reuses paper, turning it into unique, eco-friendly sketchbooks. He's looking for businesses and individuals interested in participating in a collection program where a bin is placed in your space and collected on a  weekly basis free of charge. What kind of paper? All sorts of otherwise unused paper or paper that's on its way to the trash or recycling bin. Any type or size will do - especially interesting stock like sticker sheets, old atlases, and the like - even basic white paper that has non-sensitive printing on one side (Fax cover sheets, for example). NOT soiled or crumpled paper, however. If interested, get in touch with him at or stop by C-301.


    Also, his Resketch Kickstarter project is still active, and is working toward a stretch goal right now! Here's the link: 

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