Governor Bruce Rauner today launched the inaugural cohort for the Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME) program in Peoria. The program, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce, is a community investment program developed to strengthen Illinois’ start-up and small business ecosystem by tapping into the potential of minority business owners and entrepreneurs. The first year of the program will focus on minority communities in Peoria, Rockford and Chicago with the goal of expanding statewide.
“If our minority businesses succeed, Illinois succeeds,” Governor Rauner said. “By investing in these talented individuals, who are too often overlooked and left out of our current system, we are creating jobs and investing in our future. Our minority entrepreneurs deserve the same support and resources that everyone else gets, and I am proud to help launch this program to help make that happen.”
The cohort consists of 35 talented entrepreneurs from the three geographical regions that were selected from a large application pool. The applicants were then asked to fill out a talent identification form that was analyzed by Gallup to determine their potential for success in the program. Business plans, financial data and other proprietary information were also necessary in the selection process.
“This first ADME cohort is a versatile group of businesses that are very excited to either start or grow their existing business,” said Marcus Yancey, Deputy Director of the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment and ADME program manager. “The hope is that this program will help support our minority entrepreneurs in their efforts to build their businesses, hire employees, create jobs and help spur economic growth within their community and across Illinois.”
The projected start date of the program in Rockford, Peoria and Chicago is early March. The training program will take place in each city where top business educators will help build a sound foundation of knowledge and support for these entrepreneurs to grow and build their businesses. In addition, ADME aims to help create mentorships and networks that will continue even after the program ends.
“It is an honor to be included in this select group of talented entrepreneurs,” said ADME member Stacy McCaskill, CEO and Founder of Fishwithme.net Corp. “As a female founder and CEO in a predominately male-dominated industry, it is a privilege to network and learn from others who find they are also among the first.”
ADME is part of our administration’s commitment to support minority and women-owned businesses and increase diversity in businesses and within the Illinois economy.
Video of the event will be posted here.