WSU Awards $400,000 in Small Business Grants

Creating Wealth and Job Opportunities for 40 Local Entrepreneurs

Today, West Side United (WSU), in collaboration with Allies for Community Business (A4CB), announced the recipients of West Side United’s 2022 Small Business Grant. Forty $10,000 grants will support local businesses that are creating job opportunities and wealth on Chicago’s West Side, while also striving to improve neighborhood health and wellness in Austin, Belmont Cragin, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side (Pilsen), Near Westside, North Lawndale, South Lawndale (Little Village), West Garfield Park and West Town. This is the fifth consecutive year that West Side United has awarded these small business grants, and its investments in small business development in these communities now totals more than $2 million.

West Side United’s Small Business Grant also incorporates an accelerator model that under which grantees can access coaching and training opportunities offered by A4CB, an East Garfield Park-based nonprofit that provide the capital and connections entrepreneurs need to grow great businesses that create jobs and wealth in their communities.

“The barriers to neighborhood wellness and vitality extend far beyond the health sector. That’s why we’re taking a holistic approach towards building community health, increasing economic activity and addressing inequality by using a cross-sector, place-based strategy,” said Ayesha Jaco, Executive Director of West Side United. “Grant winners will be able to use these unrestricted funds to hire and train more staff, invest in equipment and facilities and support innovative marketing strategies, so they can thrive and strengthen the West Side neighborhoods where they are located.”

In selecting recipients for the 2022 Small Business Grant program, priority was given to businesses that specialized in the following twelve diverse service areas, based on high urgency and impact needs as identified by West Side United partner organizations:

  1. Legal services
  2. Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services
  3. Janitorial services
  4. Repair and maintenance
  5. Landscaping services
  6. Real estate, rental and leasing
  7. Human resources consulting
  8. Marketing consulting
  9. Advertising and public relations
  10. Translation and interpretation
  11. Waste management and remediation services
  12. Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractors

“What this grant means to small business owners is indescribable. West Side United has allowed us to expand our reach dramatically and make positive changes that simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” said Andrea Herrera, owner of Amazing Edibles Gourmet Catering, a two-time West Side United Small Business Grant recipient. “This money allowed us to purchase a van for our deliveries, which expanded the amount of business we could take in. We have also been able to give back to the West Side by working with a non-profit, the Chicago New Moms Group, to deliver dinners to new mothers and their families.”

Funding for West Side United’s Small Business Grant program is provided by partner organizations, including American Medical Association (AMA), JPMorgan Chase, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Molson Coors, Northern Trust, Rush University Medical Center, Tito’s Vodka and Wintrust.

“Black, Hispanic and Latino business owners face systemic barriers when it comes to growing and scaling their small businesses,” said Joanna Trotter, Head of Chicago Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “Investing in West Side United’s Small Business Grant program is a great example of how we team with impactful organizations to create opportunities that support and uplift minority entrepreneurs and address racial disparities.”

View a full list of the 2022 grant recipients.

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