Governor Recognizes National Small Business Week
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2001
SPRINGFIELD -- In recognition of National Small Business Week, Governor George H. Ryan today renewed his commitment to Illinois' small business owners and their employees.
"This week we celebrate the contributions and dedication of over 625,000 small businesses in Illinois which help strengthen the state's economy and provide jobs to more than 2.5 million people in Illinois," Ryan said. "As a former small businessman, I realize how hard small business owners work and believe they deserve to be recognized for their efforts."
Knowing the importance of access to capital for small start-up companies, Governor Ryan's proposed Fiscal Year 2002 budget includes $1.25 million for the
Capital Access Program (CAP), the first time that program has received a separate appropriation. CAP is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA).
"CAP has become our top financial resource program for small and medium sized businesses," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said. "We want to ensure that every viable business is given the opportunity to grow and flourish, because their success means more jobs and a more diverse economic base. The Governor's funding request for CAP will allow us to leverage an additional $22 million in loans for small business."
The Illinois CAP was initiated in February of 1997 and just recently surpassed the $75 million mark in loans that the program has facilitated. Over 1,400 companies have taken advantage of CAP resulting in 4,340 new jobs and the retention of 7,500 workers.
In recognition of National Small Business Week DCCA also organized three Small Business Resources Fairs in Harrisburg, Rockford and Chicago. The fairs bring together federal, state and local resources with small business owners to address key issues including technology, workplace safety, tourism, employment training, financing, government contracting, exporting, among others.
In January, prior to the Governor's 2001 Small Business Summit, Ryan appointed Phyllis Scott to the position of Small Business Advocate within the Governor's Office. The creation of a small Business advocate was a key recommendation of the 2000 Governor's Small Business Summit.
"As Small Business Advocate, I am the Governor's direct link to Illinois' growing small business community," said Scott. "Through direct contact with the business community and by listening to owners, we'll be able to do a better job in addressing the issues that affect them."
Last week, the US Small Business Administration in partnership with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Small Business Development Center recognized eight Illinois small business owners and advocates for their outstanding achievements in their core competencies at Chicago's Navy Pier. Three of these award winners were also recognized for their accomplishments in January 2001 at the Governor's Small Business Awards Program. The honorees also included Margaret Johnson, who was named Small Business Person of the Year for Illinois, and last year was awarded The Governor's Family Investment Award.
For more information about the programs and services available to assist Illinois small businesses through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, contact the First Stop Business Information Center at 800/252-2923 (TDD: 800/785-6055) or visit the DCCA Web site at www.commerce.state.il.us.