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Thanks to the Elevate Together initiative, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) will award six grants of $5,000 to Hispanic and Black small businesses in Chicago with five or fewer employees.

The Elevate Together cash grant ceremony will be hosted on Thursday July 1st, at the Union League Club of Chicago, during the IHCC Breakfast Membership Meeting.

Our application deadline was May 14, 2021, where we were proud to receive over 150 applications from IHCC clients, members, and friends. After a broad and rigorous selection process tailored to small businesses, the winners in Chicago selected by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are:

Antigua Inc is a full-service general construction company specializing in carpentry rough/finish, drywall, acoustical tile, flooring, signage, high impact resistant fencing, concrete, and project management. A minority woman-owned business, they have performed construction in the Chicagoland area since 2005. They have been in business for 16 years.
Business Owner: Edith De La Cruz
Employees: 7
How this grant would help the business: “A small business grant would help us manage our overhead expenses, such as utilities and insurance expenses”.


Atzimba Catering and Events is a unique company of Mexican, Pre-hispanic cuisine, and traditional cuisine. They have been in business for almost 7 years.
Business Chef-Owner: Atzimba Perez
Employees: 2
How this grant would help the business: “I need the money to buy new equipment and for marketing, so I can be ready to be back in business.”


Carmona Strategic Solutions provides strategy, communications, business development services for government, nonprofit and small businesses. They provide professional services in multiple industries, engineering and construction were a focus during COVID and now they are seeing opportunities in other industries. They have been in business for almost 4 years.
Business Owner: Roberto Carmona
Employees: 2
How this grant would help the business: “It will ensure I can pay current staff and add more team members.  Also provide equipment and resources to support their work”.


PARA.MAR Dance Theatre, LLC is a Chicago-based contemporary ballet repertory company, founded in July 2020 and directed by award-winning choreographer, Stephanie Martinez. Meaning together, with, and for, “PARA” represents the vision, purpose, and commitment to celebrating identity and creating community through contemporary ballet.
Business Owner: Stephanie Martinez
Employees: 3
How this grant would help the business: “A small business grant from Elevate Together will directly help support the growth and general operations of this promising new company – committed to empowering and elevating diverse artistic voices in contemporary ballet. Specifically, it will ensure that we are able to pay our artists competitively – so that the work we share can have the strongest possible impact on the communities that need it most.”


Rocket Productions, Inc. is a full-service video production company located in Chicago. This company is the recipient of 7 Chicago/Midwest Emmy awards. Former NBC producer, Hector Perez, founded Rocket Productions in 2002. The company has produced hundreds of broadcast quality programs including TV documentaries, TV commercials, training videos, public service announcements (PSA’s), corporate videos, educational videos, and Video News Releases.
Business Owner: Hector Perez
Employees: 2
How this grant would help the business: “Although some might not think that a $5,000 grant is much, but to me, it represents paying my employee 6 weeks of work or helping pay our rent for two months”.


Shall We Wine is a wine and spirits experiential and event planning marketing company. They help small to medium-sized brands grow their reach through in-store tastings, corporate events, and media. Since 2013 they also provide wine and spirits education, travel, and virtual events.
Business Owner: Regine Rousseau
Employees: 1
How this grant would help the business: “I invested some of the profits from 2019 into marketing our new virtual events during the pandemic. I would use the grant to hire a part-time salesperson to help with prospecting corporations”


Elevate Together is a non-profit initiative designed to address systemic discrimination and historical racial disparities in business growth and profitability in Black and Hispanic communities.

The ODP Corporation (parent company to Office Depot and CompuCom) is the initiative’s founding partner. Funds for the Elevate Together initiative are collected and managed by Round It Up America, a 501(c)3 organization.

Through a partnership with the National Urban League and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the initiative delivers education, access and aid that accelerates the creation, growth and prosperity of Black and Hispanic small businesses.

More Frequently Asked Questions:



  • Technical assistance (workshops, training, boot camps, one-on-one counseling) provided by National Urban League and US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce affiliates in local markets
  • Certified small business mentor from The Venture Mentoring Team
  • Elevate Together University — small business workshops (accounting, finance, marketing, supplier development, IT, legal) presented by Elevate Together corporate partners


  • Provide access to professional networks and platforms
  • Help to increase the pipeline of diverse suppliers
  • Increase amount of capital available to minority small business owners through non-traditional lending sources


  • Cash grants to minority small business owners
  • Donation of in-kind products and services (copy and print services; tech products and services; office/home office furniture furnishings; business services; office supplies)
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