Press Release

FOUNDERS FIRST CDC ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS OF EXPANDED CHICAGO JOB CREATORS QUEST GRANT

30 new grants reward business growth in underserved communities in the Chicago area.

March 3, 2022 – Chicago – Founders First CDC (Founders First), a 501(c)3 non-profit that empowers expansion in diverse founder-led, revenue-generating businesses, announced the recipients of its Job Creators Quest Grant to support underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Chicago area. 30 Illinois-based businesses each received a portion of the $100,000 award total.

Each awarded business also will receive a scholarship to Founders First’s business accelerator program, which includes leadership coaching and continuing business education that has helped hundreds of companies achieve growth in recent years.

The top recipients are Griffin Orthodontics/Ivory Dental Services, a Black-owned, woman-owned business in a low-to-moderate income area of Chicago’s South Side and One Stop Beauty Salon, an Asian-owned, woman-owned salon and beauty school, located in a low-to-moderate income area of Chicago’s North Side. Both receive $10,000 grants.

Founders First created the Job Creators Quest Grant to help generate premium wage jobs and reward diverse-led businesses in and around Chicago that have been able to retain and grow their workforce despite ongoing pandemic-related challenges.

Other recipients include:

BUSINESS NAME

   CITY

          SECTOR

Ani Real Estate

Chicago

Other Services (except Public Administration)

APMonarch PLLC

Chicago

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Balanced Flow Wellness

Chicago

Other Services (except Public Administration)

baso, LTD

Evergreen Park

Construction

Brewpoint Roastery LLC

Elmhurst

Manufacturing

Calm Mind Counseling Center, PLLC

Westchester

Health Care and Social Assistance

Corps LEVL Ventures, Inc. dba SpeedPro Chicago Loop

Chicago

Manufacturing

Goodlife Physical Therapy

Orland Park

Health Care and Social Assistance

Griffin Orthodontics/Ivory Dental Specialists

Chicago

Health Care and Social Assistance

Gumbo Media, LLC

Chicago

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Kaminska Dermatology PLLC

Chicago

Health Care and Social Assistance

Kombuchade

Chicago

Manufacturing

Love Cork Screw

Chicago

Wholesale Trade

Meliora Cleaning Products

Chicago

Manufacturing

Mr. SharePoint, LLC

Chicago

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Naturally Urban Environmental Inc.

Chicago

Construction

NextLevel Law, P.C.

Chicago

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

One Stop Beauty Salon Inc.

Chicago

Other Services (except Public Administration)

Plant Salon LLC

Chicago

Retail Trade

Printers Row Dental Studio

Chicago

Health Care and Social Assistance

Qui Virtual Support Solutions, LLC

Chicago

Other Services (except Public Administration)

Redwood Literacy LLC

Chicago

Educational Services

RiseKit Inc.

Chicago

Other Services (except Public Administration)

Schoolbags for Kids LLC dba Bixbee

Chicago

Manufacturing

SOCIAL

CHICAGO

Manufacturing

Super Appliance Man

Chicago

Construction

TechVoo

Bloomingdale

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

That’s So Creative, LLC

Chicago

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Walton Contractors

Naperville

Construction

Zora Digital, LLC

Chicago

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

“Business owners told us their needs have not changed – pandemic conditions continue and they needed help now,” said Shaylon Scott, executive director of Founders First. “Expanding our long-term commitment to Chicago-area Illinois-based entrepreneurs is an impactful way to drive job and wealth creation in underserved communities and help these winners make a difference.”

Funding for this program was facilitated by a $1 million national grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and regional support from both the Chicago Community Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in conjunction with Founders First Capital Partners’ recent $9 million Series A financing accelerator to support underrepresented entrepreneurs in underserved communities across the country. Additional national and regional partners include ADP, Black Enterprise Magazine, JPMorgan Chase, The Kauffman Foundation, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), the Chicago Community Trust, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, World Business Chicago, Small Business Majority, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, GET Cities, LISC, Chama Capital, National Black MBA Association and the North River Commission.

“A strong and effective business accelerator program can provide value to entrepreneurs that lasts for the rest of their careers and beyond,” says Joanna Trotter, Executive Director, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We’re proud to support Founders First CDC’s effort to provide more resources to more small business owners from underrepresented communities in and around Chicago to make a permanent, positive impact on growing companies.” 

“Our support of Founders First and the Job Creators Quest Grant program is part of our deep commitment to supporting entrepreneurs of color in our hometown of Chicago,” said John Balbach, Director, Impact Investments at the MacArthur Foundation. “Programs like this offer a powerful opportunity to fight racial injustice and build a more equitable future in Chicago and beyond.”

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