Business Expo to focus on Black and Brown entrepreneur support

Following a successful year since the launch of its BRIDGES Committee for Black and Brown entrepreneurs, the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its first Business Expo Friday, April 19.

The expo will run from 5 to 9 p.m. at Gallery 611, 611 East Main St., in East Dundee.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity of sharing valuable information and resources to help African American businesses get to the next level,” said Rise Jones, BRIDGES Committee co-chair and a member of the chamber’s board. “They can be individuals who are at the very beginning of developing their business ideas and plans to seasoned business owners wanting to seek out new opportunities to grow, sustain, and support their business.”

Jones will co-host the evening along with BRIDGES co-chair Mary Nappier, Stanley Steemer, and committee members Jon Pierre Badie of Insperity, Inc., and Shirley Bassett of the African American Coalition of Kane County.

Attendance is free and open to anyone interested in taking the next steps to learn, grow, and prosper their business. The agenda includes networking from 5:30 to 6 p.m.; training/education and expert table meetings from 6 to 8 p.m.; and concluding with additional networking from 8 to 9 p.m.

The evening will include a panel presentation by Badie, who works in human resources at Insperity, Inc.; Mark Lane, DPK Creative; and Yaneth Medina, president of Elgin State Bank.

Expo participants will get one-on-one time with experts who will provide important resources, “mock-business coaching” addressing how business owners navigate their worlds and can get assistance from experts along the way. One of the expo’s goals is to put new and seasoned business owners at ease, letting them know any and all questions are valid, that it is a process that sometimes can be iterative, and that there are people and resources able and ready to help and support.

Scheduled to be the focal/coached businesses are Dwayne Carpenter of Extreme Exteriors, Curtis Rich of Universal Carpets, and Shirley Bassett of Brand Design and Remodeling.

Local experts include: Elgin State Bank; Elgin Development Group; Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce; Fox Valley SCORE Chapter, Gail Borden Public Library District; Illinois Minority Business Development Association; Insperity; and the Small Business Development Center at Elgin Community College.

The event will be catered by a Black-owned business: Tiffany’s Sweetz & Savory Kitchen owned by Tiffany Rice.

For more information, contact Tony Lucenko at the Elgin Development Group at or call (847) 741-5663.

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