A community partner dedicated to Chicago’s makers

Increasing access to capital for minority-owned small businesses

Providing technical assistance to small business owners

Retained more than 75 jobs in Chicago communities

Community Partner Success Story

Story Overview

Chicago boasts a bustling small business economy. For thousands of Chicagoans, entrepreneurship is more than just a dream made real: it guides their lives and feeds their livelihoods. That’s why the COVID-19 pandemic created such a huge disruption in the Chicago business community.

HIRE360 is among the business support partners that help make Chicago a great place to start and grow a small business. Contractors, trade workers and other entrepreneurs rely on HIRE360 for job leads, job training and access to capital for growth. When the COVID-19 pandemic brought commerce to a halt, HIRE360 turned its focus to helping its small business clients access Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding.

CRF has spent years working within Chicago’s small business community and partnered with HIRE360 on a recent initiative that identified challenges and resources for small, minority-owned contractors in the city. These eff orts built trust between the two organizations, so that when Congress created the PPP, both HIRE360 and CRF were ready to serve Chicago businesses. With a deep understanding of its clients’ business needs, HIRE360 helped ensure they could access PPP funding through CRF. As a result of this partnership, 13 minority-owned small businesses in Chicago secured PPP funding.

Together, CRF and HIRE360 stand ready to support Chicago’s small businesses in the wake of COVID-19, a task that is less daunting because of a longstanding partnership and a mutual understanding of how best to target capital, drive community impact and create sustainable community wealth for the brave and tenacious entrepreneurs of Chicago.

“HIRE360 has been an invaluable partner in CRF’s efforts to support Chicago’s small business community. This partnership, ensured that more minority-owned small businesses in Chicago secured PPP loans and kept their employees working during the pandemic.” Maureen McKenna, Senior Development Officer, CRF.

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