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What's New This Month

This March, we are highlighting government procurement: the process by which the local, state and federal government purchases the goods and services it needs to serve the community from commercial businesses. Discover upcoming events and resources, hear from a business with a procurement success, and get the information you need to be procurement ready.

A New Way To Grow: How One Cook County Small Business Owner Embraced Business Advising and Leveraged a Procurement Success

For Letitia Clark, owner of the Calumet City medical supply company A New Way To Go, advancing access to medical equipment and supplies represents a life-long passion. Having learned the importance of equitable access to healthcare at her first job with the Cook County Health and Hospital System (CHHS), Letitia remains committed to improving access to healthcare for south suburban Cook County residents forty years later.

Letitia’s journey developing A New Way To Go taught her that running a small business is not without challenges: “There is no step by step guide … you just have to figure it out, you have to research it,” says Letitia. Through the dedicated guidance of her business advisor, Jerrica Hill from the SDA, a partner in providing The Source’s free one-on-one business advising, Letitia has leveraged resources through the SDA to help develop a dynamic business plan to not only “keep the doors open,” but to revitalize her business. 

Since beginning business advising, Letitia pursued and won a contract with the Cook County Sheriff Office, providing custom wireless face masks for the County’s correctional facilities. Letitia has also hired a medical sales representative to help market and sell her products, and is planning her next steps to expand into new industries in the near future. 

When asked what Letitia would like to share with other small business owners looking to start or scale their small businesses in Cook County, Letitia says, "Don't give up. There are resources out there. I would advise any small business to take advantage of the resources that any city or county may have.”

March's Webinar Wednesday

Be Procurement Ready with The Source!

This March, we are featuring events to help prepare your business to seek contracting opportunities with the local, state, and federal government. Don’t miss our March Webinar Wednesday event in partnership with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, plus discover upcoming events from our partners below.

Doing Business with the Government

Join The Source and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Cook County Source BSO partner, to learn about "Doing Business with the Government," led by IL APEX Accelerator Director Oscar Gutierrez. Topics to be covered include minority certifications, requirements for government contracting and procurement opportunities. 

Hosted by The Source & The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM CT

Register Here

Upcoming Webinar Wednesdays:

Register Here

Join The Source and one of our featured Business Support Organization (BSO) partners on the last Wednesday of each month for our Webinar Wednesday series, bringing you the resources and information you need for your small business to thrive! 

Next Up in the Series! Join us on April 24, 2024 for “Tell Your Story and the Sales Will Follow: Marketing for Small Businesses 101” with the Berwyn Development Corporation!

Upcoming Procurement Events from our Partners:

Hosted by Illinois APEX Accelerators, the inaugural Illinois Government Contracting Summit is a premier networking and training event for parties seeking to learn how to leverage government contracts. This year’s theme, “Get the WIN,” is for small businesses seeking to perform services and sell products to the federal, state and municipal governments within Illinois.

Join Cook County for the second annual Pathways to Cook County Summit, a dynamic and collaborative event fostering inclusivity, transparency, and civic engagement featuring vendors, workshops and interactive sessions. Attend a variety of workshops covering contracting with Cook County, getting certified with Cook County, the latest grant opportunities, plus more!

Procurement Resources from Cook County

Looking for one stop-shop to learn more about Cook County’s procurement process and opportunities? Visit our resources to discover helpful links and information to access the latest contracting opportunities from the Cook County and the City of Chicago, or access resources for Cook County Procurement and Contract Compliance below.

Learn about Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Certification with Cook County Contract Compliance
Discover Upcoming and Current Contract Opportunities at Cook County

Upcoming Events

Funding Opportunities

KIVA Capital Opportunities

Kiva is a nonprofit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world, with more than 2.5 million people having raised over $1 billion on Kiva. Kiva provides loans of up to $15,000 at 0% interest. Additionally, you have the opportunity to market your product to Kiva's community of 1.6 million supportive lenders.

Learn more here.

City of Evanston - Entrepreneurship Support Grant

The Entrepreneurship Support Grant supports residents and local business owners starting and retaining sustainable small businesses located within the City of Evanston with grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Eligible businesses must have a physical location in Evanston, be in operation for two years or less, and be properly registered and/or licensed with the City of Evanston. Learn more and apply for this rolling grant opportunity 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!


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