Governor creates program for minority entrepreneurship

Chronicle Media


Gov. Bruce Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner

The state is creating a new program aimed to improve the economic climate for minority and women-owned businesses in Illinois.

“We need to lift up minorities and women who have been overlooked within our society and are underrepresented in our economy,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner in announcing Jan. 19 the formation of the Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship.

“Illinois is one of the most diverse states in the country and everyone benefits by cultivating and celebrating that diversity. A.D.M.E is a step forward in creating an economy where minority entrepreneurs are supported at the highest level,” said Rauner.

A.D.M.E builds on the state’s start-up and small business ecosystem by tapping into the potential of underrepresented communities. A.D.M.E will identify high-potential minority entrepreneurs and provide them with resources from start to finish to grow their business, according to the state.

The program is intended to ensure these individuals and companies have the knowledge, tools, resources and support system they need to flourish.

The first year of the program will focus on minority communities in Chicago, Peoria and Rockford with the goal of expanding statewide. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will oversee A.D.M.E. by creating an ecosystem of community partners for a tailored experience leading to long-term results.

“Illinois is creating a trail for minority entrepreneurs to succeed,” Jimmy Odom, senior policy adviser at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said. “A.D.M.E will open doors for these innovative individuals by supporting them at every level and providing them with additional knowledge and resources. We can give these innovative individuals and companies a better chance at success in a long-term and meaningful way, which will create a positive ripple effect in their community and across the state.”

A.D.M.E is a result of Rauner’s executive order to identify ways to increase diversity in business and the economy, according to the governor’s office. It is one of many steps the administration said it is taking to support minority and women-owned businesses.

Members of the Minority Economic Development Council

– Jimmy Odom, DCEO senior policy adviser of Minority Business Development

– Julio Rodriguez, deputy director of DCEO Office of Employment Training

– State Representative Ken Dunkin , Fifth District

– Emilia Deminco, president and CEO of Women’s Business Development Center

– Terrance Hall, Metropolitan Planner at Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning

– Eva Brown, U.S. Bank, vice president and Regional Community Development Manager

– Steve Hall, Accion, vice president of Small Business Development

– Erica King, vice president of Lending, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group

– George Burciaga, founder and CEO of Elevate Digital

– Denise Moore, member of the Peoria City Council

– William Busch III, Gallup, Inc.