$15 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Growth of Minority-Owned Businesses
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Minority Economic Empowerment posted two Notification of Funding Opportunities for a total of $15 million to provide minority-owned businesses with resources to help create jobs, build capacity, increase revenues, and expand regionally. 
Program Description
This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) sets forth the requirement of the 2019 Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Minority-Owned Business Capital and Infrastructure Program.  The Office of Minority Economic Empowerment's (OMEE) newly created state funded capital and infrastructure program, as per Public Act 100-0586, aims to equip minority-owned firms with resources to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues, and expand regionally.

$10 million of the grant funding is available for minority-owned businesses
Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment of minority-owned businesses. It also inhibits the ability of economic growth in minority and underserved communities. The goal is to ensure minority enterprises have an equal opportunity to contribute to the growth of Illinois' economy and serve as an advocate for businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups in traditionally economically-disadvantaged groups. Applicants are eligible for up to $500,000.
$5 million of the funding is available for incubators who serve or would like to serve minority-owned businesses
Business incubators provide support to increase survival for new start-ups to assist in growth during the start-up period when many businesses are vulnerable. Incubators can assist by providing space or capacity; networking and consulting opportunities; professional services and training; and, they can supply resources including research and development. Applicants are eligible for up to $250,000.
All applicants must be pre-qualified through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal. Application is not a guarantee of funding.  

Business owners and incubators interested in applying can do so here or call the First Stop Business Information Center helpline at 1.800.252.2923 or email ceo.accountability@illinois.gov. The deadline to submit applications is 5pm CST on June 30, 2019.
Regulatory News
State Agency Rules Open For Comment

The following rules have been proposed by State of Illinois agencies and are open for public comment.   To see a comprehensive list of rules which could impact small businesses, visit www.ildceo.net/regalert.   You can learn about rules and submit comments regarding their impact  by clicking on " submit comments" .   

  • The Illinois Housing Development Authority proposed an amendment which will impact affordable housing developers.  To learn more about these potential changes or to submit comments, click hereThis rule is open for public comment until 6/24/19.  
  • The Department of Natural Resources proposed amendments which will impact small businesses that perform pest control services.  To learn more about these changes or to submit comments, click here This rule is open for public comment until 7/1/19.
  • The Department of Natural Resources proposed amendments which will impact small businesses that are hunting outfitters and falconers.  To learn more about these changes or to submit comments, click here This rule is open for public comment until 7/1/19.
  • The Department of Natural Resources proposed amendments which will impact holders of DNR permits for underground natural gas wells and storage facilities, and businesses located near underground natural gas storage facilities.  To learn more about these changes or to submit comments, click here This rule is open for public comment until 7/8/19. --  DNR will hold a public hearing on the above-mentioned rulemaking on Wednesday, June 19, from 3-9 p.m. at the DNR Headquarters, One Natural Resources Way (State Fairgrounds). 
  • The Office of the Secretary of State proposed an amendment which will impact small businesses that are seeking procurement contracts with the Secretary of State.   To learn more about these changes or to submit comments, click hereThis rule is open for public comment until 7/8/19.  
For more information on any of the above proposed rules, contact Katy Khayyat at (217) 558-0190 or email Katy.Khayyat@Illinois.gov .  
News from the Small Business Administration

SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development 
Did you know the SBA offers support for veterans as they enter the world of business ownership?  Click to read about funding programs, training and federal contracting opportunities.    Learn more.  

Explore Exporting with the SBA  
Did you know that nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and two-thirds of the world's purchasing power is in foreign countries? If you're a small business owner, consider exporting your goods or services. Connect with SBA resources and partners to help get you started.     Visit SBA's page on exporting products to learn more.   

Women Business Owners:  SBA is Launching a New Platform For You
Ever wish you could have on-demand access to the information you need to grow your business to the next level? SBA is creating Ascent, an online learning platform that utilizes a modern, e-learning approach specifically targeted for women business owners who want to grow their businesses. We're looking for women business owners past the start-up stage to participate in product beta testing to ensure that Ascent is a useful, helpful and reliable product that meets the needs of female business owners. The testing is expected to take approximately 20-30 minutes. Click here to register.  
Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) News
Marketing Your Small Business to Federal Agencies 
If you registered your business in SAM.GOV, you've completed one of the first steps to engage in a business relationship with federal agencies. Now it's time to market and promote your business to federal agencies. Below are the steps every contractor should have completed soon after registering in SAM.
  1. Complete Market Research. One of the great things about the federal government is that historical spend data is made available to the public at no cost. All you need to do is learn how to use this data to your advantage. Market research should be one of the first actions you complete. It will save you tremendous amounts of time and money by keeping your team's efforts focused on the agencies most likely to buy what you sell.
  2. Develop a Professional Website. Your website should highlight your value proposition, team experience, and performance history at a minimum. Listing completed projects is always a plus, as often buyers and prime contractors search for companies with relative experience and past performance on projects they have requirements to fill. Besides having a general website, some firms like to have a section of their website tailored specifically for their government customer. This part of the website has relevant data for federal agencies such as the company's DUNS number, CAGE Code, Small Business Certifications, and the like. Click here for an example of a good small business website that speaks to both government and commercial clients. While there, check out and download their line card/capability statement as it offers a good example of the next checklist item.
  3. Create a Capability Statement. This is a simple 1 to 2-page document that summarized the company's experience, past performance, and value proposition. Sometimes, this document is referred to as a line card. Your firm's capability statement should be kept up-to-date and ready for instant delivery at the federal customer's request. If you didn't find the capability statement on the above-referenced website, click here to view it.  
  4. Optimize Your SBA Profile. This is an important element of government search optimization, yet contractors often skip this step when registering in SAM because it's optional. It is especially important if you are interested in opportunities under $25k because, at that dollar threshold, agencies typically don't publicize the opportunity but look for small businesses in the SBA directory. Those firms that have a complete profile that's linked to a professional website which further communicates their value, experience, and performance history, have a much better chance of being invited to participate in a non-published opportunity than those who skip this step.  
If you need assistance completing any of these steps or would like a no-cost review, contact your PTAC counselor.   Click here to find a PTAC in your area.
To find out more about PTAC's, call 1.800.252.2923 or visit the Illinois PTAC website
News from the IRS 
New Requirement Applies to Any Business Seeking a Tax ID Number 
Did you know that beginning May 13, an important change was made that affects the way the IRS issues employer identification numbers, or EINs?
Beginning May 13, only individuals with tax identification numbers - either a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) - may request an employer identification number. This new requirement, which was first announced by the IRS in March, will provide greater security to the EIN process by requiring an individual to be the responsible party and will also improve transparency.

An EIN is a nine-digit tax identification number assigned to sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employee retirement plans and other entities for tax-filing and reporting purposes.

The change prohibits entities from using their own EINs to obtain additional EINs. The new requirement applies to both the paper Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, and online EIN applications.

Hiring Teens for the Summer

In many industries, the summer season brings a sharp increase in teen employment.  Unfortunately, for many business owners there remains a great deal of uncertainty about how federal child labor laws affect their teen workers. Brush up on the requirements and prevent child labor violations before they occur.  Click here to learn more!  And for more in-depth child labor information download your own copy of our Child Labor Bulletin 101.

Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program 
Informational Webinar:  2019-2020 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Solicitation
The USEPA invites you to participate in this informational webinar  on EPA's upcoming 2019-2020 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I solicitation.  Learn about EPA's SBIR program, this year's solicitation topics, and how to apply for an SBIR contract. EPA SBIR program experts will be available to answer questions during a question & answer (Q&A) session following the presentation.

EPA's 2019-2020 SBIR Phase I solicitation is anticipated to open June 13, 2019. The solicitation purpose is to support eligible small businesses in the development and commercialization of innovative environmental technologies. EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program as a result of the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. EPA is calling for small businesses to apply for Phase I awards for up to $100,000 to demonstrate proof of concept in one of the SBIR solicitation topic areas. Successful Phase I awardees are eligible to receive Phase II funding, up to $400,000 for two years, through an additional application process.

  • Review topics anticipated in the upcoming 2019-2020 SBIR Phase I solicitation
  • Learn about the federal SBIR Program and EPA's SBIR Program
  • Learn how to apply via FedConnect
  • Review administrative, submission, eligibility and peer review concerns
  • Share frequently asked questions
Novel technologies are wanted in the following topic areas: 

  • Sampling devices for microplastics
  • Technologies for the rehabilitation of water infrastructure
  • Technologies for the destruction of PFAS in water and wastewater
  • Point of Use (POU) treatment for opportunistic pathogens
  • Technologies for detection and treatment of antibiotic resistant bacteria in wastewater
  • Treatment for cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in drinking water
  • Resource Recovery for Decentralized Wastewater Systems
  • Air monitoring technology for Ethylene Oxide
  • Air monitoring technology for Sulfur Dioxide
  • Mining site characterization and remediation
  • 3-D Gamma Camera to Map Radiological Contamination
  • Water distribution and stormwater system sensors
  • New Applications for Industrial Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials
  • Preventing Food Waste
  • Safer paint and coating removal products
For more information on EPA's SBIR program and funding opportunities, visit  https://www.epa.gov/sbir.   To learn more about SBIR program, click here.  

Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers Selected for 2019 Business Assistance Providers Environmental Leadership Award  
The National Steering Committee (NSC) of Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) & Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO's) has recognized the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP), headquartered in Springfield, IL, for its leadership in the areas of improving environmental performance, pollution prevention, sustainability, and mentoring.
The Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program nominated the IAAP for their partnership with the program and their efforts to improve the industry's environmental knowledge and compliance through annual convention presentations and educational seminars with a focus on topics such as:  New Source Performance Standards, clean construction and demolition debris as fill, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure requirements, storm water plans, LEED, sustainability and green initiatives, among others.  In addition, the IAAP has included the IL SBEAP on their Environmental and Sustainability Committees and provides industry insight on IL SBEAP publications and initiatives such as the ROSS program guidance.    
"With strong support and technical assistance from experts working for large national companies as well as family-run, small companies, IAAP takes pride in the educational opportunities it provides to the whole mining industry in Illinois as it meets the environmental and technical challenges of numerous regulatory programs," said the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producer's Assistant Director, Shawn McKinney.
"The Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers is committed to protecting the environment and provides proactive environmental leadership for their industry.  They are a valuable program partner and help us ensure the aggregate industry has the information and tools they need to voluntarily comply with complex environmental regulations," said Annette Fulgenzi, Manager of the Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program.
The SBEAP/SBO NSC Awards are the States' premier awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental leadership among small businesses and small business assistance providers.  These awards recognize small businesses, SBEAP/SBO programs and individuals, trade associations and other business assistance providers who have made significant contributions to protecting the environment.  The awards program is sponsored by the SBEAP/SBO NSC in partnership with U.S. EPA Asbestos and Small Business Office.
The NSC Awards were presented at the 2019 Annual SBEAP/SBO Training in Chicago, IL on May 15, 2019. More information about the state SBEAP/SBO is available at https://nationalsbeap.org/.

Annette Fulgenzi Awarded Karen V. Brown Leadership Award
The National Steering Committee (NSC) of Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) & Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO) have recognized Annette Fulgenzi of DCEO's Small Business Environmental Assistance Office 1225 as the 2019 winner of the Karen V. Brown Leadership Award. This award acknowledges the accomplishments of an individual who promotes small business compliance assistance, sustainability, advocacy, and collaboration nationwide. These individuals have demonstrated leadership, innovation, dedication to environmental protection, and persistence in building strong local/state/federal partnerships for small business compliance assistance throughout their career as a SBEAP/SBO.

Fulgenzi was recognized for her leadership and participation on the NSC as Chair and Vice-chair, a regional representative, the Promotional subcommittee chair, and on nearly every Planning subcommittee over her 25-year career. In addition to planning many Annual SBEAP/SBO Training programs, Fulgenzi hosted the event in 2002, 2013 and 2019. Fulgenzi was also recognized for being a strong advocate for strengthening the relationship between USEPA and the SBEAP/SBOs, finding long-term consistent federal funding for the programs, and creating strong partnerships with national business organizations such as National Federation for Independent Businesses, Printing Industries of America, as well as local organizations like the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers.
"My colleagues in the Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs are some of the most dedicated, creative and passionate public servants in government. Their work protects our environment for generations to come while at the same time helps foster the small business community's ability to create jobs and grow our economy. I consider it a great honor that they would choose me for the Karen V. Brown Leadership Award," said Annette Fulgenzi.
The SBEAP/SBO NSC Awards are the States' premier awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental leadership among small businesses and small business assistance providers. These awards recognize small businesses, SBEAP/SBO programs and individuals, trade associations and other business assistance providers who have made significant contributions to protecting the environment. The awards program is sponsored by the SBEAP/SBO NSC in partnership with U.S. EPA Asbestos and Small Business Office.
The NSC Awards were presented at the 2019 Annual SBEAP/SBO Training in Chicago, IL, May 15, 2019.

Need Assistance? Visit www.ildceo.net/enviro, or call our helpline at (800) 252-3998, or email DCEO.SBEAP@Illinois.gov.
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events
Open House for DBE's - June 4th Chicago
The Illinois Department of Transportation will host an open house for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program's relocated multimodal resource center Tuesday, June 4. The public is invited to visit the center, 2121 W. Taylor Street, in Chicago, between 5 and 7 p.m.
At the event, staff will be available to discuss how to become certified as a DBE and to explain the programs and services that IDOT makes available to help minorities, women and other eligible small businesses.
Attendees also can learn more about IDOT's Supportive Services program, which includes management and technical assistance, as well as innovative workshops and seminars that can assist small businesses in developing skills, knowledge and capabilities to do business with the state. The services are provided at no charge.
For more information on becoming a certified DBE, visit IDOT's  DBE Certification website. Contact DOT.SupportiveServices@illinois.gov or call 217-782-5490 with any questions.

Washington Heights Area Small Business Forum - June 12
Please join us for a special informational session that will help you access small business technical assistance and funding sources.  The purpose is to provide technical assistance for start-up and existing businesses.  Gain knowledge about funding opportunities and lending requirements to start and help your business grow.  Learn about:
  • Basic Lending Requirements
  • Women Business Development/Advantage Illinois
  • Veteran Owned Business
  • Small Business Training Opportunities
  • Illinois Small Business Development Centers
  • Illinois Economic Development Opportunities
  • Resources to Help Your Business Grow
  • HUD Section 3 Business Requirements & the Opportunity Portal
  • HUB Zones: Revitalizing Our Communities
  • Community Reinvestment Act                 
This event will be held on June 12 from 1:00 - 5:00 pm at the Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 West 95th Street, Atrium, Chicago, IL.  

Small Business Expo - June 20, 2019 - Chicago
Meet and network with thousands of like-minded business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals in your area!  

Why attend Small Business Expo?
*  Network with thousands of businesses
*  Get leads and new customers
*  Build your business
*  Attend FREE business-critical workshops and seminars
*  Shop for new products and services to help your business
*  Learn from cutting-edge presentations
*  Participate in FREE speed networking  sessions

Since 2008, Small Business Expo has dedicated itself to putting on fun and educational events that help Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs thrive. The free one-day event allows business owners to connect, network with vendors in various industries and learn from the best in business about how to solve their most pressing business issues. Small business owners are encouraged to attend to learn from industry experts and shop from exhibitors that have products & services that help a Small Business grow.   Click here to learn more about the Small Business Expo to be held in Chicago June 20th, 2019.

Techstars Startup Weekend, Small Town Advantage June 21-23 Danville
Entrepreneurs and leaders will gather in Danville, June 21-23 for Techstars Startup Weekend. The 54-hour event will be held at Danville Area Community College (2000 E. Main St. Danville, IL). Techstars Startup Weekend will begin Friday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.

Startup Weekend Danville is a collaboration with The Trep School, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at DACC, Vermilion Advantage, and Neuhoff Media to promote both local businesses and entrepreneurial problem solving. Early bird registration is $75 and closes on June 14. To learn more or register visit http://go.startupweekend.org/DanvilleIL.

Techstars Startup Weekend brings together designers, developers, marketers and startup enthusiasts from across the state and beyond to share ideas, form teams and launch business ventures. Participants select ideas with the most promise and make as much progress on the business as possible over the course of three days. In addition, business leaders and mentors are on hand to share insights and experience.

Small Business Cyber Training - Cybersecurity Workshop- July 16, 2019 Chicago
Northrop Grumman, In collaboration with the USC Center for Economic Development, if offering free cybersecurity training to small businesses through an Air Force Small Business Office Mentor Protege Program.  This workshop is open to all small businesses.  Advance registration is required.

The workshop will be held July 16, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Springhill Suites (Marriott) Chicago O'hare, 8101 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631.  

For more information and registration details, click here.  

SBA's Illinois District Office Events Calendar
Visit the small business events calendar on SBA's Illinois District Office  homepage to locate an event or training that suits your small business needs.  
Spotlight on Success
Spotlight on Success-Natural Fiber Welding 
Luke Haverhals, Founder and CEO of Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW) has a unique background and technical training that has enabled him to comprehend fundamental physics and atoms all the way up to how global systems work. It was this comprehensive education that positioned Luke to conceive of the idea of NFW, a materials company that enables people to manufacture textiles, furniture and more directly from natural materials that farmers can grow.
The company's goal is to build new technologies that create material wealth that scales to the planet's population. How? By demonstrating that nature and sustainable agriculture combined with 'closed-loop' chemistry and automation can do just that for "as long as the sun shines." With this goal in mind, NFW can directly manufacture products that come from abundant natural sources and that improve the lives of people. Such manufacturing techniques are simultaneously better for the environment even as they can make people less dependent on fossil fuels and petroleum-based plastics that can never scale to 7.5 billion people (and growing).
Luke credits his relationships with Chad Stamper, Steve and Ken Zika for getting the company off the ground - Chad and Steve specifically assisted and mentored Luke through issues of the intellectual property, fundraising, and business development. In addition, Jim Foley, Director, Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Bradley Universityhas been helpful to transfer knowledge regarding import and export regulations.
NFW is maturing much faster than many could have expected by recognizing that lean startup principles and customer discovery are the key to "help to know what technologies solve real business needs." In addition, NFW is gaining major traction with many large, iconic partnering companies with a holistic intellectual property portfolio consisting of breakthrough chemistry patents, automation, business agreements, and other knowhow which work synergistically together. NFW is earning a reputation of building scalable technology solutions within the multi-trillion dollar per year textile industry. As proof, last fall NFW was accepted into the prestigious Fashion for Good Scaling Programme - one that "supports innovations that have the potential to change the fashion industry." While the company has huge potential, it is still a daring feat for NFW to enter such a large global industry. With this mind, the team has worked strategically and diligently to amplify resources and engaging key industry players to maximize impact.
With the future in sight, Luke states it is of significance to "have a lot of fun along the way" on the journey of a changing the world. It is hard to know exactly where Natural Fiber Welding will top out at, but there is reason to believe that Natural Fiber Welding is building something incredibly valuable and that can alter human history in a very positive way.

June  2019
Helpful Links
Start a Business - Illinois Small Business Development Center (Illinois SBDC)
Illinois First Stop Business Information Center
Illinois Angel Investment Tax Credit Program
Illinois Secretary of State Business Services
How Can We Help You?

Illinois Small Business Development Centers are located throughout the state and provide information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources and services for start-up and existing small businesses.

Whether your company employs two people or 102, you need a strong network behind you to succeed. And that's where the Illinois Small Business Development Center comes in. SBDC partners with well-respected business development organizations and educational institutions to assist you in maximizing your potential to grow and attract investors. SBDC connects you to the experts, tools and opportunities that translate into endless possibilities!
The Illinois SBDC program is located within the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. For more information please click here.

Need Assistance?

Call our helpline at 800.252.2923 or email  FirstStop@Illinois.gov






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