Nearwest  News
In This Issue
$$ Back for Training
HR Lunch & Learn
1,000 Manufacturing Jobs
Members Event Success
Good Food Festival
ICNC Advocacy Updates
Development Opportunities
Member Spotlight
Marketing Workshops
Need Employees?
Announcements and Discounts
Quick Links
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                  March 2015      
Money Back for Training-Funds Almost Gone!
Receive up to 50% cost reimbursement for training using the Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP)! All training must be completed by 6/30/2015. Trainings going back as early as July 1, 2013 could qualify. These grants are provided on a first-come, first-served basis at no cost. Whether your industry is manufacturing, warehousing, construction, or food production, various training could qualify for this grant. For more information, contact Hannah Jones at  [email protected].
HR Lunch & Learn Series Coming in April!

ICNC is providing an informative but interactive Lunch & Learn Series for our members and partners on various Human Resource (HR) related topics. To ensure that we provide content that is important and relevant to you, please complete this FOUR question survey by Friday, March 20. To learn more, contact [email protected] at ICNC with questions.

The Road to 1,000 Manufacturing Jobs

ICNC, in conjunction with World Business Chicago (WBC) and its workforce development partners, has launched the 1000 Jobs campaign. The campaign will place 1,000 people in manufacturing positions in Chicago and the surrounding collar counties.  In addition, it will raise awareness of advanced manufacturing which is becoming increasingly important in Chicago.  ICNC members can gain access to the campaign's pool of qualified candidates and be provided with additional services from account executives at no cost.  If you are a manufacturer ready to become a WBC 1000 Jobs partner, or if you would like to learn more about how the campaign benefits manufacturers, contact ICNC's Bob Climack at [email protected] or 312-421-3941.

Annual Members' Meeting and Welcome to 2015 Board of Directors

Over 150 ICNC members packed the organization's offices on February 26 to discuss local business and policy issues, and to vote in four new members to the organization's board of directors.  We welcome the individuals below and are pleased to have their talents and insight as part of ICNC's leadership:

Rod Berthold, Gus Berthold Electric 

Unah Choi, Choi Brands Inc. 

Tim Garcia, Jewell Events Catering 

Amy Liss, MT Food Service 

We would also like to thank and congratulate Jim Greenwell of Reliable Plating, stepping down from ICNC board after fifteen years of service to the Kinzie Industrial Corridor.

The Annual Member event was a great success thanks to event sponsor MB Financial and the following in-kind donors:

Chicago Teachers Union
Metric Coffee Roasters 
Clark Street Sports 
MT Food Service 
Phillip's Flowers & Gifts 
Goose Island Beer Company 
Plow King

      Reminder:  Good Food Festival & Conference      

The Good Food Festival and Conference will be held this March 19-21 at the UIC Forum. It's a food-oriented event with a local/sustainable emphasis and it brings together food businesses, investors, and policymakers as well as the public.


To learn more and to become an exhibitor, click here

Sign up for ICNC Advocacy Update Blasts

For members interested in ICNC's role as a voice for small business and neighborhood growth, we are piloting an email list for updates on advocacy projects and organizational positions.  Stay on top of development proposals, zoning decisions, and meetings with decision makers, and provide input that can help shape ICNC policy.


To be added to the notification list, or to get directly involved in ICNC's advocacy work, email [email protected].

Development Opportunities
In this new section, ICNC will highlight no-cost development and growth programs for company owners and management.  
Emerging Leaders Chicago:  Developed by the SBA, Emerging Leaders is an intensive executive level training initiative to accelerate growth of high potential small businesses.  It offers business owners education and innovative strategies to grow, acquire financing, access new markets, and leverage networking.  The no-cost program is open to small businesses in the Chicagoland area that have been in business over 3 years, have annual revenues >$400,000, and have at least 1 employee other than the owner. The application deadline is March 20th for the 2015 program beginning in April.  Please click here for more information and to apply.
Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE):  A World Business Chicago initiative, CASE is a network of Chicago's leading "anchor" institutions - hospitals, universities, and others - committed to creating economic opportunities for local suppliers.  Local firms selected to participate in CASE will have access to procurement opportunities from the anchor institutions as well as specialized business advisory services.  This includes a 3-day workshop series that is focused on best practices in seeking and winning bids, strategic/growth planning, seeking growth capital, leadership, and other business topics.  The next cohort is targeted at Professional Services and begins on March 26th.  Please click here for more information and to apply.
10,000 Small Businesses:  Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a no-cost program that provides business owners with practical business education, a supportive network of advisors and peers, and access to capital.  Through the program, owners will receive the tools and support to develop a customized growth plan to take the business to the next level.  To qualify, businesses must be in operation for at least 2 years, generate revenues between $150,000 and $4 million in the most recent fiscal year, and have a minimum of 4 employees, including the owner.  The application deadline is June 1st for the August 2015 cohort.  For more information and to apply, please click here
Member Spotlight: tgin

Chris-Tia Donaldson, founder of Thank God it's Natural (tgin), has been creating natural hair care products since 2013. Read more about tgin and their journey here. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2003, she was offered a job at a prestigious law firm, but was at a loss for what to do with her tresses. She wore a wig for almost two years as she struggled with what was considered professional while she started researching products that worked on her hair type. There were so few products on the market for women with natural curls, kinks and waves, she began making her own products in her apartment. After quickly outgrowing that, she moved into ICNC in 2014.

ne of their most recent accomplishments was getting into Target. tgin was also named a "small business success story" by the White House, and Chris-Tia's book was used as a gift to the entire student body at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.

Attend ICNC's No-cost Marketing Workshops
Take advantage of ICNC's marketing workshops to grow your business. Classes include: Intro to Digital Marketing, Social Media for Business, Email Marketing and more. Click here to learn more and to register.  
Are You Looking for Employees?

Finding and developing skilled employees is always a top priority for managers. Through ICNC's Workforce Development Center, we link local business owners with a capable and available labor pool in and around Chicago's Near West Side. Services include posting job ads, screening candidates, and running background checks.


For more information, contact Nancy Kramer at [email protected].

Member Announcements and Discounts
Solstice Art Source will host an intensive, week-long Painting Workshop by Indre McCraw from March 16-20 in conjunction with the Second Annual Chicago Stained Glass Invitational Exhibition, to be held on March 21, 2015. To get updates for the upcoming Painting Workshop, click here.                             
ICNC tenant Unison Home is looking to sell a Uline floor scale with ramp for $500.  Contact Robert for details at 312-492-7960. The current retail value for such equipment is $2,020.  
ICNC Industrial Space Available      
Enjoy competitive rent, a thriving entrepreneurial environment, and immediate access to ICNC's development services as a tenant of the Fulton-Carroll Center business incubator.  

Click here to view available space
For more info call 312-421-3941 or email [email protected]