CategoriesIHCC News

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 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.

Working together we will continue to drive economic development in the communities that need it most. We are empowering small businesses to reopen fully and safely by connecting them with helpful resources and tools. We want to help as much as possible”, said Jaime Di Paulo Zozaya, IHCC President & CEO

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 Illinois Hispanic 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 Illinois Hispanic 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
  • Cook County Black 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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