Last night I attended a meeting of Local First Chicago (LFC) hosted by Eclecticity books, gifts and much more in Lincoln Square. LFC is a NFP organized to encourage Chicago business to think about using local Chicago vendors first. An idea that is advantageous to any community beit geographic, cultural or virtual. To build a stronger community support the people within that community.
The presentation was given by a panel of small business lending experts: Brett Simmons of Accion Chicago, providers of micro loans between $200.00 and $25,000.00; Jon Levey of the newly founded Green Choice Bank with a mission to support local Chicago area businesses with a nod toward those who have an ecological or environmental sustainability component; and Andrew Fogaty of the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago ( ICNC) providing an assortment of economic support programs including access to grant money, training and meaningful business advice and assistance. I get the idea that anyone beginning a micro-enterprise in Chicago’s near westside should make their first stop ICNC.
Interesting contacts who qualify as New People who have helped to move me toward my goal of meeting 100 new people in 50 days include the following folks. Andrew Fogaty mentioned above with whom I had a very pleasant conversation. Andrew strikes me as anxious to help, and the kind of guy you want to talk with if you have business start-up or growth questions or want help accessing small business resources in Chicago. Brett Simmons is equally helpful in his realm of micro-loans. I learned from Brett to keep in mind that the loan process takes time maybe 4-6 weeks and there is an expectation that you have sufficient collateral to fund your loan request. They are however creative in this area but do not expect money on your good idea only. You do not have to have a good credit background but you do need to show sustainable cash flow and a sound business model.
Ryan Goulding is an area CPA looking to work with small businesses. Matthew Balson, attorney for small businesses who need help with contracts,trademarks,financing agreements or corporate filings. His father Ronald Balson is the author of a recently published WWII era historical novel, “Once We Were Brothers.”; and Reed Adler of ReedNWrite.com providing graphic design and web design. A special shoutout to Identity Theft Protection Provider Chris West. As important as getting money and credit, is protecting what you have. And Derek Usman small business litigator both of whom were also in attendance. Perhaps you might meet one or more of these folks at next month’s Business Card to Business Meetup.
Day 31 with 55 people met.