Media Release: Treasurer’s Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo Kicksoff

Treasurer Stephanie Neely is sponsoring the 12th Annual Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo; bigger and better, and for the 3rd year partnered with Crain’s Chicago Business. It is expected to attract more than 4 ,000 people to the UIC Forum located at 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. on Friday, October 4th from 8:30am – 3:30pm.

“When people can’t find work they start their own businesses,” says Neely, “and this is the best way to give new and established entrepreneurs one-stop shopping for what they need.”

The Expo has been free since its inception 12 years ago. It remains free thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.

UBS, the event’s Marquee Sponsor, continues to demonstrate its commitment to small business lending in the region teaming up with the Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund (“CBOF”) to provide up to $5 million in financing solutions for qualified small business owners in Chicagoland. CBOF is a nonprofit lender created in partnership with Valley Economic Development Center, which is a national leader in small business lending and an established Community Development Financial Institution. The fund is a part of UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs program, which was created to help empower small business owners by providing resources, including mentoring, access to capital, and educational opportunities.

Expo Highlights include:

  • • Free photo booth for LinkedIn profile pictures
  • • Elevator pitch bullpen: experts help condense a business pitch into 30 seconds
  • • One Hour Mentors, including Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes and Justyn Howard of Sprout Social, explain the basics of getting a business loan, with microlenders on-site
  • • Workshops on business health care, social media, branding, how to write a business plan, and other insightful topics
  • • Winners of business plan competition announced, top three ideas share $10 thousand prize
  • • Shark Tank with Chicago sharks


Troy Henikoff

  • • Managing Director, TechStars Chicago, part of the world’s top startup accelerator network
  • • Managing Member of the FireStarter Fund, which invests in digital technology companies, primarily in the Chicago area
  • • Co-founder, Sure Payroll (Acquired for $115 million)

Shradha Agarwal

  • • Co-founder and Chief Strategy Office, Context Media, which owns and operates a nationwide suite of digital healthcare networks
  • • Founder and Managing Partner, JumpStart Ventures, a seed-stage investment fund
  • • Honored as a White House Champion of Change and recognized as Tech Woman of the Year in Chicago

Mahrinah von Schlegel

  • • Executive Director and Board President, Cibola, Pilsen’s technology entrepreneurship incubator
  • • Economic Growth Fellow, World Business Chicago
  • • Founder, Director, Civic Crime App, a non-profit venture to include context and a citizen voice in usable crime data

Companies Pitching to Shark Tank


  • • Windowsill planter box that’s simple, self-sustaining, and stylish
  • • City Treasurer’s Business Plan Competition winner
  • • Raised $77,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter
  • • Pitching: Sarah Burrows, Co-Owner

We Deliver

  • • Same-day delivery with a smile
  • • Winner, 2013 Techweek Launch
  • • Pitching: Jimmy Odom, Founder and CEO

savvo digital sommelier solutions

  • • Digital in-store wine expert
  • • 2nd place at CSU’s Entrepreneurial Idol Competition
  • • Pitching: Joseph Sheahan, Cofounder and CEO

Saigon Sisters

  • • Fresh Asian gourmet sandwiches and more
  • • City Treasurer’s Business Plan Competition winner
  • • Pitching: Mary Aregoni, Founder and CEO

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