Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce receives grant as part of county's $1.2M effort to support small businesses

Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce, its CEO and Founder, Siri Hibbler, today, proudly announces its expanded partnership with Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, Next Street, and its network of providers as part of the County's ongoing work through its nationally recognized Small Business Assistance Program.

"The County is continuing to prioritize an equity-first response to the challenges of the pandemic, leveraging community partners to support its award-winning small businesses assistance program," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. "Together, we are able to broaden our reach and I look forward to seeing what we will achieve through this expansion of this program."

The County recently received an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) award of $744,600 as part of its Community Navigator Program and We Rise Together coalition's award of $500,000. Combined, the new resources will support the County's nationally recognized Small Business Assistance Program to further support recovery efforts for pandemic-impacted businesses.

"Since 2019, the Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce has provided business development support to approximately, 2,000 businesses. The business support includes business plan development, business advising and coaching, technical assistance, wealth and succession planning, business workshops, entrepreneur training and access to capital. There are currently, approximately, 130,000 businesses in Cook County that have been negatively impacted by the COVID pandemic, the funds received by Cook County through the Navigator program are greatly needed to help businesses continue to survive and thrive during and after the pandemic. We are honored to be part of this process to bring these funding opportunities to the businesses within Cook County and the State of Illinois," said, Siri Hibbler.

Cook County will serve as one of 13 "Hubs" in the State of Illinois'$9 million Community Navigator Program and will focus its efforts to build awareness to ensure available federal, state, and local funding is easily accessible to minorities and hard-to-reach small businesses.

"Next Street believes that small businesses are the engines of inclusive growth, and we are proud to be the program coordinator and partner to Cook County," said Next Street Managing Partner, Charisse Conanan Johnson. "We are confident that Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce will continue to be a fantastic asset, expanding their work ensuring small businesses are able to access the support they need as they begin to recover from the past year. Small businesses, especially those owned by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs that have been systemically left behind, need our help now more than ever."

As a "Hub," Cook County has enlisted Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce as one of the region's 10 leading business support organizations to provide business coaching services. Other network partners making up the 10 "spokes" includes the following organizations:

Allies for Community Business

Berwyn Development Corporation

Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council

Chicago Urban League

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Restaurant Association

Southland Development Authority

The Joseph Center

Women's Business Development Center

The program received the National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award in 2021 for providing business-to-business and other crucial recovery programs supporting small businesses and communities during the pandemic.

To learn more about Cook County's Small Business Assistance Program, visit

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