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The Chicago Urban League Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation helps Black entrepreneurs launch, grow, and sustain businesses. The Center provides entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to maximize revenues, reduce costs, increase profitability, and drive job creation while encouraging innovation. The Center also helps businesses obtain supplier diversity certifications, respond to bids on public and private contracts, and increase the number and average dollar value of contracts won.

Successful entrepreneurs of color  are not only important to the Black community, but to the economic development of the entire City of Chicago. To ensure that Black entrepreneurs flourish, our center provides business owners at all stages with one on one coaching in core knowledge areas such as strategy, branding, access to capital, marketing, finance, procurement/ supplier diversity and operations.

The Chicago Urban League Entrepreneurship Center has a first class faculty of coaches, volunteer subject matter experts, and organizations to provide you with superior counsel for your business. Our training programs include:

NextSTARTUP Business Launch Program

The nextSTARTUP program is an intensive, six-week, 12-session program that combines classroom training and one on one coaching to help startups develop viable business models. This program moves founders from idea to launch by teaching them fundamental startup principles. Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays evenings.

NextDEAL Procurement and Teaming

The nextDEAL program is a 12-week program designed to develop teams of professional services firms to pursue large prime and 2nd tier contracts. Contractors will receive support in individual preparation for teaming arrangements, in the development of contractor teams, and in identifying procurement opportunities to pursue.  Class meets on Tuesday evenings.


The nextLEVELEXCHANGEN is a 12 month business mentoring program. Businesses are paired with industry experts to support their growth and scalability.


Our 9-month program is especially designed to help Black-owned businesses scale and grow. Learn more.

WOKE Entrepreneur Summit

Since 2018, the WOKE Entrepreneurship Summit has created a unique event experience for African American entrepreneurs aged 21-45. As an “entrepreneurship conference for the culture,” we bring together Chicago’s top Millennial, Xennial, and seasoned business leaders each year for a day of learning, networking, and celebration. Learn more.

For more information or to sign up for programs, click here.