View as Webpage

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube

What's New This Month

Discover Pink Panini, The Source Webinar Wednesdays, New 2024 Laws, and More!

A new year means new goals for your small business! At The Source, we partner with our network of expert business support organizations (BSOs) to assist and celebrate your business in every stage. Discover this month’s The Source Small Business Spotlight and learn more about the new Webinar Wednesday series.

The Source Small Business Spotlight

Offering Fresh Food Dining in the Southland: Pink Panini and the Entrepreneurial Journey

Meet Latrice Wright, owner of Pink Panini, a restaurant in Hazel Crest, IL that provides the Southland community with fresh soups, sandwiches, salads, and much more. After 16 years of service at the Chicago Housing Authority, Latrice learned firsthand how hard it could be to fit a healthy lunch into a packed schedule. Because of this, she was inspired to create a place where busy, working people can stop by and get a quick, healthy, and “delicious meal that puts a smile on your face.”

Realizing that Hazel Crest lacked a business like the one she envisioned, Latrice decided to “bet on herself” and establish Pink Panini, but found that starting a business was not without challenges. “The hardest part of being an entrepreneur,” Latrice shared, “is that it often feels like you are alone.” However, with the Southland Development Authority’s (SDA) assistance, a partner within The Source’s BSO network, Latrice learned that she did not have to navigate her entrepreneurial journey alone.

Latrice first started her business advising journey by seeking out application assistance for the 2023 Source Grant. Through the support of her business advisor, Marisela Zambrano, a Relationship Manager with the SDA, Latrice has also adopted new marketing and employee retention strategies. Latrice shares, “The SDA has been assisting me with anything that I need to build my business, to make it grow.” She is now launching a second dining option, Crabs and Cocktails, opening soon next door to Pink Panini, offering seafood, entertainment, and providing the neighborhood “something that they don’t have already.” 

Most recently, Latrice became one of the lucky recipients of the 2023 Source Grant and she plans to utilize the grant funds to “catch up on inventory, payroll, and maintenance,” as she recovers from the challenges of the post-pandemic economy. 

The Source is excited to showcase small business owners like Latrice in 2024! Want to get involved? Connect with our network of expert business advisors today for no-cost business advising, click here to learn more.

Funding Opportunities

State of Illinois Small Business Credit Initiative

The State of Illinois has provided $354.6 million for four programs in the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to expand programs that support small businesses across the state. Learn more about the program offerings made possible through SSBCI here. Need help identifying which opportunity may be best for your small business? Sign-up for no-cost guidance from our network of business support organizations (BSOs) here.

7th District Small Business Restoration Grant

The Office of State Senator Mike Simmons and the State of Illinois DCEO announced the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant, a program which will provide one-time $10,000 grants to eligible small businesses located within the Illinois State Senate 7th District. Applications are accepted until February 2, 2024 by 5 PM CT. Learn more and apply here.

January Featured Event

Announcing The Source Webinar Wednesdays Series

Join The Source and our BSO partners on the last Wednesday of each month for our new Webinar Wednesday series, bringing you the resources and information you need for your small business to thrive! Each month The Source will feature one of our BSOs to share the latest best practices, resources, and opportunities with you.

Don’t miss our kick-off event featuring Allies for Community Business (A4CB) for the January Webinar Wednesday.

Capital, Coaching and Connections with Allies for Community Business

Join Allies for Community Business (A4CB) CEO Brad McConnell to hear an overview of what is required to apply for a small business loan, and details about A4CB’s business coaching services. A4CB provides the capital, coaching, and connections entrepreneurs need to grow great businesses that create jobs and wealth in their communities. A4CB offers loans between $500 and $100,000 to early, emerging, and established businesses at fair prices. In addition, A4CB provides free coaching to anyone who wants to start or grow a business, and connects entrepreneurs to trusted partners who can help further.

Hosted by The Small Business Source & Allies for Community Business.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM CT

Register Here

Upcoming Events

New 2024 Laws Your Small Business Should Know

The Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance became the Paid Leave Ordinance on December 31, 2023. Under the new law, workers can use paid leave for any reason. Enforcement of the Cook County Paid Leave Ordinance will begin on February 1, 2024. 

On January 1, 2024, the minimum wage for tipped workers increased to $8.40 and the minimum wage for non-tipped workers increased to $14.00 under the

Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance

To learn more about these new 2024 laws and how they may affect your small business in Cook County, visit the link here.

Business Advising

The Cook County Small Business Source provides no-cost one-on-one coaching, group webinars and events and online resources to help small businesses thrive and grow.


Sign up for Business Advising and connect with one of our advisors from the region’s leading business services organizations!


Contact Us!

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube


Email: [email protected]