As our nation endures an unprecedented public health and economic crisis and begins all-out efforts in pursuit of recovery, the Illinois HIspanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) is fully immersed in these efforts.
IHCC’s primary role is being defined by circumstances, assigning IHCC a heightened responsibility to assist minority-owned businesses to survive, prepare to recover and eventually thrive.
IHCC has assumed a prominent, evolving role as a vital resource to assist small businesses to access available support while preparing to assist small businesses to access additional sources of support being considered.
In addition to providing direct assistance, IHCC is actively involved in designing initiatives that will enable it to deliver urgently needed additional support to a growing number of small businesses.
IHCC’s bicultural, bilingual assistance capabilities make it the most viable, accessible resource to assist Latino-owned businesses, which were unfortunately largely underserved in the period immediately preceding the historic crisis we are facing.
Oddly, the crisis has heightened awareness of the critical role that small businesses and their employees play in our overall economy. Ensuring that Latino-owned businesses receive the assistance that they will need is a vital, critical element to ensure a robust recovery.
As such, IHCC is reaching out to its partners to request financial assistance to ensure the continuity of its operations and develop and implement initiatives and models that will ensure that assistance is delivered to Latino businesses in joint, comprehensive efforts.
One such model, described below, seeks to ensure that Latino businesses apply for and receive loans from the Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Loans, the City’s Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund and other assistance programs currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress.
Community Technical Assistance / Loan Preparation Services to Latino-Owned businesses
As demand increases, IHCC recognizes the importance of providing one-on-one technical and loan preparation assistance to Latino small businesses.
Since the Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance loans became available in Illinois on Thursday, March 19, IHCC has received dozens of requests for assistance, a number that is expected to grow exponentially as outreach continues aggressively and the needs of small businesses continue to grow.
IHCC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is leading this effort, working closely with the SBA Illinois District Office, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the City of Chicago.
To advance this work, IHCC seeks to work with its financial institution and corporate partners to provide this assistance at locations throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area.
Given public health considerations and current restrictions, IHCC proposes to launch this program immediately after the workplace and public access limitations in Illinois are lifted (scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, 2020 in Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order.)
IHCC seeks support from financial its partners (“Host”) as follows:
● Host will designate a work area in a local, community site where an IHCC team member can meet privately with business owners in a coordinated, by-appointment-only basis.
● The IHCC team member will be available to meet with business owners personally from 2 to 3 days per week, with a maximum of 10 appointments per day. IHCC will assume responsibility for the scheduling of meetings and will share with the host detailed information of expected attendees. Host will welcome and direct arriving attendees to the meeting location.
● The primary purpose of the meeting will be to provide assistance to business owners to complete and submit applications for government financial assistance.
● Based on IHCC team member capabilities, as many as 5 local community locations may be utilized, distributed across the region and targeting Latino-business predominant communities.
● Through this program, IHCC will be able to provide direct, one-on-one technical assistance to a minimum of 100 business owners per week, with the possibility of assisting dozens more per week as the program evolves. Ongoing one-on-one technical assistance beyond the initial financial assistance application preparation can be incorporated as needed.
● IHCC team members and business owners will benefit from the cleaning, sanitizing and other public health practices put in place by the Host for its employees and customers once community locations reopen.
● It is IHCC’s belief that the assistance described in this proposal will be required for a period of 9 to 12 months, possibly longer.
These proposed activities will complement ongoing assistance that IHCC is currently delivering via telephone and online.
In addition, IHCC will be approaching local Universities to determine whether students may be available for outreach assistance in Latino communities in the Chicago Metropolitan Area.
As many other organizations, IHCC expects to experience cash flow challenges as a result of the economic crisis. As such, IHCC seeks support to ensure that it has the ability to sustain its operations to continue to provide vitally needed assistance to Latino-owned businesses.
IHCC proposes this effort as an enhanced, targeted partnership that will enable IHCC partners to brand the effort, expand the assistance delivered to its clients, increase its visibility in the Latino business community, and welcome a steady flow of potential new customers.
As such, IHCC seeks financial support from its partners. This support will establish steady cash flow for IHCC, enabling the IHCC team and leadership to focus on the effort to assist Latino businesses.