Illinois: New State Support for Entrepreneurs

The Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship program will mentor start-ups in Peoria, Rockford and Chicago.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2017 Issue

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently 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,” Gov. 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.”

IllinoisThe 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.”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 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 the administration’s commitment to support minority and women-owned businesses and increase diversity in businesses and within the Illinois economy.


The Illinois FILM Office recently announced that Illinois’ film industry generated $499 million in estimated Illinois spending, a 51 percent increase over the same period last year. This adds to the 18-percent increase that was seen in 2015. The office worked with 345 television, commercial and film projects that generated 13,377 non-extra job hires over the course of 2016.

In addition, Chicago, Illinois was just named the fifth best place to live and work as a moviemaker in North America by MovieMaker magazine. This is the third year in a row that Chicago has made the top-ten list.

“The film industry here in Illinois continues to grow stronger,” Illinois FILM Office Director Christine Dudley said. “Our focus on attracting innovative and diverse projects has led to an unprecedented half a billion dollars in qualified Illinois production spending. My hope is that we continue to build upon these last two years of success to show everyone that there is no better place to film than Illinois.”

A strong talent pool of cast and crew members, diverse shooting locations and a competitive incentive program attracted a wide variety of projects to film in Illinois in 2016. Primetime hits “Empire” (FOX), “Chicago Fire” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” (NBC) returned to the lineup. NBC also green lit the pilot for the fourth installment in the Chicago franchise, “Chicago Justice.” The series was picked up for a full season which began production filming in September 2016. Online media services also increased their presence in Illinois with the production of original content episodic series: Easy (Netflix), Sensa 8 (Netflix) and Patriot (Amazon).

Illinois is the only state in the country to set a diversity standard for production hiring of women and minority crew members. This growing industry is a priority of the Rauner Administration, and by focusing on making it an inclusive and diverse industry, the Illinois FILM Office is creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in every corner of the state.

The Illinois FILM Office promotes Illinois as a location for film, television and advertising productions, providing assistance with everything from location scouting, hiring cast and crew to working with local unions and guilds. The Office also administers the state’s film tax credit, which has been integral in growing a competitive film industry in Illinois. The 30 percent tax credit is awarded to productions for money spent on Illinois goods and services, including wages paid to Illinois residents. The goal of the Tax Credit Act is to grow, sustain and provide economic and job opportunities for local vendors, crew and filmmakers.