African American Business Association

Opening new doors, developing future entrepreneurs, strengthening skills, and expanding networks.

The African American Business Association is a collaboration and vision that has now come to fruition between the Chamber and community members. These individuals from the community approached the Chamber with a need for the formation of a business focused group to serve African American owners, managers, employees, and individuals.

The overall focus of the new group will cover four main topics including Business & Economic Development, Job Readiness, Professional Development, and Networking / Special Events. The main drive is to open new doors, develop future entrepreneurs, strengthen skills, and expand networks.

We strongly believe that the African American Business Association will carry on the tradition of respected sub-groups and deliver quality programs and events. The Mission of the this group is as follows: “To advocate for the creation, growth, and general welfare of African American businesses throughout the Joliet Region, while fostering economic development in the African American communities.”

We will host a monthly (excluding December) Business After Hours networking event on the THIRD Tuesday of each month from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at a local organization. Check the Chamber calendar for updates

Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn

September 17, 2020 Video Conference covering the Will County Small Business Grant Assistance Program

​Small businesses have experienced unprecedented disruptions and financial challenges due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Will County recognizes its small businesses have struggled to pay bills, keep customers, and stay afloat while navigating through the uncertainties of this pandemic.

Will County has earmarked more than $24 million for a Small Business Assistance Grant Program to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 so they can maintain operations. Selected businesses may receive up to $15,000 in grant assistance

Full Video Recording by clicking on the button below

Here are the slides that were reviewed

August 25, 2020 Video Conference with Rosalyn Putman from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Thank you to Rosalyn for sharing a wealth of information on the following: 

The Federal Government is the largest buyer of products and services in the US. The SBA has a variety of programs to help small businesses compete for these federal contracts. Is your business eligible for one of our contracting programs?

The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBzone) Program allows federal contract set-asides for small businesses in economically depressed communities.
Eligibility and Program benefits will be covered

The 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).
Program benefits: Training, Contracting opportunities, and Mentoring

Full Video Recording by clicking on the button below

Here are the slides that were reviewed

July 22, 2020 Video Conference with Mark Ferguson from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Thank you to Mark for sharing a wealth of information and for a great, interactive, and enlightening presentation of the following information: 

  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • Bridge Gap Loans
  • Debt Relief Programs
  • 8 A Contracting Opportunities

Make sure to click the button below for the full video recording.

Here are two useful documents that share the slides that Mark went through. You can contact him at mark.ferguson@sba.gov or 312.353.5430

Small Business COVID-19 Assistance PPP Bridge Loans_Training

Small Business COVID-19 Assistance_EIDL PPP Bridge Loans_Training

May 19, 2020 Video Conference with Matt Simpson, African American Business Development Manager from the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

Thank you to Matt from the DCEO Office of Minority Economic Empowerment for sharing information about the numerous resources they have to offer including: 

  • Advantage Illinois Loan Program
  • Advancing Development of Minority Entrepreneurship Program
  • Cannabis Social Equity Loan Fund
  • BEP Resources – Certification and Opportunities

Make sure to click the button below for the full video recording.

April 28, 2020 Video Conference with Kevin Lynch from Joliet Junior College Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Thank you to Kevin from the JJC SBDC office for sharing information about the numerous resources they have to offer existing businesses and those looking to start soon. 

Here is a quick review of the session: Video Conferencing Notes-Kevin Lynch Small Business Adviser at JJC.

Make sure to click the button below for the full video recording.

Interested in Joining?

If you are interested in joining the following volunteers and promoting your business while aiding the chamber

Call or email
Michael J. Paone, IOM
Vice President
(815) 727-5371 -or- mpaone@jolietchamber.com

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