The DePaul Business Law Clinic at DePaul University is offering female entrepreneurs legal advice, business acumen, and industry guidance at an affordable price. For $500 per semester, women entrepreneurs across Chicago are getting the help they need to thrive and succeed.
Female law students are paired with the business owners and offer direct consultation and legal aid.
The clinic was founded by Julie D. Lawton and says the program is “mutually beneficial for businesses and students. For our students, this is a wonderful, dynamic and interdisciplinary experience, and for our clients, they are able to obtain this holistic support. Not only legally, but also technically. “
The clinic has offered this service for the past four years. All business types and sizes are encouraged to work with the DePaul law students.
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new grant program together with the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. This initiative paves the way for nonprofits to assist small businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Small Business Support Program has allocated $2.7 million to 41 NGOs that will offer targeted assistance to Chicago’s small business owners and innovators. Through the program, a variety of different services will be offered including free counseling, coaching, media campaigns, and press coverage. Funding will also be provided for public outdoor activities to showcase small businesses, like “Live Love Shop Rogers Park.”
“[This program] provides an important opportunity to lay the foundation for an enduring, equitable, and inclusive economy. I am grateful to BACP and its partners for bringing this program to life, which truly serves as the next step in our ongoing commitment to revitalizing our businesses and empowering the communities they serve.”Mayor Lori Lightfoot
This small-business boost is a continuation of previous efforts to revive this segment of the economy; the Chi Biz Strong $22 million grant offered financial relief and a $2.3 million grant helped eateries set up outdoor dining.
Fifth Third Bank has announced a plan to invest $20 million in South Chicago, the defunct steel town abandoned by the departure of the South Works steel plant in 1992.
The investment plan includes $2 million in funding for grassroots efforts and $18 million in financing for residential and business loans. Fifth Third’s efforts, in partnership with Claretian Associates, are part of a three-year revitalization scheme to revive the area and correct extended periods of disinvestment and under-funding.
Local businesses grow and thrive via their communities, making them a different organism than their larger-scale counterparts. In Chicago, small businesses are doing especially well due to the efforts of numerous professionals and the local residents. According to members of Forbes Chicago Business Council, there are several approaches that have made small businesses in Chicago so successful:
- Partnerships with other local startups. According to Ben Margolit of Rentgrata, Inc., networking and exploring partnerships with other businesses cultivate relationships that have the potential to stimulate significant growth, especially when both organizations share a similar target customer base.
- Transit advertising. Seemingly old-fashioned, advertisements places on trains and other means of public transportation generated a lot of traffic for Augmented Retail Company, according to Anne-Marie Kovacs. She also listed social and influencer marketing as impactful tools.
- Joining the local tech scene proved valuable to Devbridge Group, according to Aurimas Adomavicius, allowing the company to generate organic referrals and efficiently meet their clients’ needs.
- Showcasing stories. An alumni blog series captured the essence of Victory Lap’s graduates, allowing their story to stand out and their content to be seen by a wider audience, according to Brian Bar.
- Events and relationships. Nothing beats natural interactions and personal referrals when it comes to building up a reputation. According to Bobby Goodman of Truss, attending events and meeting other startup teams helped the company cultivate strong relationships and generate new business.
- Organizing events and tours. According to Ross Freedman of Rightpoint, sponsoring and speaking at industry-focused events and summits grants immeasurable exposure and legitimacy to a company as well as invaluable insights and knowledge into different business ecosystems.