Tyrone Ward, village president of Robbins, IL will welcome a full cast of major African American entrepreneurs from throughout Cook County as well as city/suburban elected officials at a groundbreaking Business Summit on Friday, March 1, from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Robbins Community Center, 13800 Trumbull in Robbins.
The Summit is titled the Minority Entrepreneur Interactive Solution Symposium (MEISS).
Ward created MEISS for the sole purpose of merging the private and public sector to address issues of entrepreneurial engagement throughout Southern Cook County. The mayor has also set a goal of addressing the need for a regional hub of industry, technology and workforce development not only for Robbins, but for the entire region.
Robbins, a community of 6,000 plus residents is located just south of Chicago in Illinois’ 1st Congressional District.
The village has a long entrepreneurial history, notably the founding of the Robbins Airport in 1930, the first to be owned and operated by African Americans in the United States, from 1930 to 1933. Black aviatrix Bessie Coleman was a co-founder. The one runway airport was destroyed by a tornado in 1933.
The entrepreneurial spirit of nationally known businessman S.B. Fuller, founder of the Fuller Products Company, was nurtured in Robbins. His success selling soap door to door inspired him to develop more products.
Robbins’ Business Summit is a return to fostering entrepreneurial activities in the Southland, according to Ward.
“Our African American leaders must take notice of the diverse nature of industries in southern Cook County. Over the past six years we’ve noticed logistical companies landing all throughout the Southland. But there are different aspects of these and other industries that warrant a frank discussion of how to prepare and engage,” says Mayor Ward.
The merged group will also speak to matters of Business Solutions, Career Opportunities, Supplier Diversity, Business Protection and other subject matter on which public officials can offer significant contributions.
Ward added, “The public sector is imperative to the success of Black entrepreneurship. We have to connect, build and elevate our leaders to opportunities of growth and expansion. I’m confident that this summit will inspire both groups to continue to give back to the communities in which they live and work.”
The expo will also feature other mini forums including:
Presentations and Workshops
Public and Private Sector Partnership Opportunities
Start-Up and Small Business Resources
Research Virtual Offices and Incubators
Financial Tools, Grants and Programs
Many distinguished notables within the business communities that make up all of Cook County will facilitate and serve as presenters. Some of which will feature:
Attorney Jim Montgomery
Deandrell L. Rucker –CEO OF Rucker Holding
Stacee Lang—President of Lang Capitol Group
Irma Lopez—- Illinois Department of Central Management Services
Mae Whiteside, PE—President and CEO of CKL Engineering
Dr. Kenneth Lewis Sr.—Founder of Kenny’s Ribs and Dusties Southern Style Buffet
Shon Harris—Owner of LiveWire Construction
Illinois State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin.
Illinois State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin noted, “I fully support Mayor Ward’s vision for this summit. This event will allow African American entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with those of us in the public sector for the sole purpose of creation and expansion. I’m confident that this new merger will address the growing issues surrounding workforce development.”
The MEISS Expo will also honor the contributions of government and business leaders who have given much to the upward mobility of the African American community.
The Village of Robbins is joined in Sponsorship by the following:
City of Chicago
Illinois Department of Commerce
Star Planet TV
Illinois Department of Procurement Services
Heirs to Heaven
Leak and Sons Funeral Homes