View as Webpage

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube

Small Business Spotlight, The Source in the News, Upcoming Events, and More

The air is turning brisk, the leaves are changing colors, and it’s officially fall! This October at The Source, discover how business advising has impacted two small businesses, find upcoming events designed to help your business thrive, funding opportunities, and more.

Small Business Spotlight

A Homegrown Success: How One Small Business Owner Grew Her Business Through The Source

Launching Freedomlei State of Mind in 2020 as a pop-up vendor at local events, Maria Rodriguez found inspiration for her line of artisanal handmade bath and body products through her family and cultural roots. As a mother to a child with Autism, Maria found that sensory-friendly bath products provided the perfect solution to bath time challenges. Maria makes her products with locally sourced, eco-friendly, and sustainable ingredients to pay homage to her grandfather, a shaman in Mexico who introduced her to the healing powers of natural homeopathic and sustainable remedies. 

Through The Source’s business advising services, Maria connected with the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) and the Berwyn Development Corporation (BDC), who helped her obtain her Sanitation Manager and Cottage Operations Certifications. As a 2023 Berwyn Shops vendor, Maria received support from the BDC to further expand her business offerings and product lines. 

You can find Maria enthusiastically sharing her products and her story at Freedomlei State of Mind’s storefront at the Berwyn Shops through December 2023. The Source, the BDC and the IRA are proud to help small business owners like Maria grow their small businesses and passions. 

Ready to take steps to grow your business? Reach out to The Source to get started! 

Sign Up Today

Featured October Event

PNC Bank's Access to Capital 2.0

Join The Source and PNC Bank for the latest installment of an informational series supporting small business.

This evening of discussion focused on assisting small business owners in accessing capital, a panel discussion with local small business experts, dinner, and networking event.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM CT

2300 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647

Hosted by: The Cook County Small Business Source and PNC Bank

Register Here

Additional Upcoming Events

Funding Opportunities

Allies for Community

Business Loan Opportunities

Allies for Community Business (A4CB) takes a holistic approach when assessing loan applications, evaluating how well business owners have managed their debts over the past two years and how much cash they have available to make monthly loan payments. Apply for reliable, low interest rate and flexible loans ranging from $500 to $100,000 provided by A4CB here.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance

Was your business impacted by severe storms and flooding between June 29 to July 2, 2023? Cook County small businesses located within a declared disaster area may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Learn more about available disaster loans and requirements here.

Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Program

The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is now accepting applications for the 2023 Artists Fellowship Program. The Artist Fellowship Program recognizes exceptional artists who have created a substantial body of work throughout their career by providing awards to support continued artistic growth. The IACA will provide a limited number of $15,000 awards across the following discipline categories: Crafts, Digital Arts, Ethnic & Folk Arts, New Art Forms and Visual Based Arts. ​A limited number of $1,500 Finalist Awards will also be given. Apply here by November 3, 2023 to be considered.

The Source in the News

From “Corrections to Confections”: How One Small Business Owner Utilized the Source to Pursue Her Passion

When Lisa Marsh retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, she decided it was time to further pursue her personal passion of creating allergen free foods. Named in honor of her mother, Lisa launched MsPsGFree, a gluten free snack company.

Lisa connected with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC), which supports minority-owned businesses to build sustainable and profitable relationships with major buying organizations. CMSDC is one of 11 Business Support Organizations (BSOs) that comprise the Cook County Small Business Source business advising network.

As a result of her work with CMSDC, Lisa’s suburban based company has grown to five employees, her gluten free granola can be found on the shelves at Mariano’s and Whole Foods, and she won a Bey Foundation grant from Beyonce’ Knowles’ foundation. Learn more about Lisa’s small business journey at We Rise Together, a funders collaborative that supports the Cook County Small Business Source.

Read Full Story

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]