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Commits to establishing and enhancing a network of entrepreneurial resource partners to accelerate small business goal attainment to give underrepresented entrepreneurs more opportunities for economic advancement


KANKAKEE, IL (February 20, 2023) – Today, Kankakee announced it has committed to establishing and enhancing a network of entrepreneurial resource partners to accelerate small business goal attainment. This commitment was made at the National League of Cities (NLC) City Summit as part of the City Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) program, which will provide Kankakee with resources and support to help entrepreneurs of color and other under-represented backgrounds achieve greater economic mobility, reduce the racial wealth gap, and improve access, opportunity, knowledge, and funding for historically under-represented groups.


“The City of Kankakee has been a part of the National League of Cities (NLC) City Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) program for several years”, states ECDA Director Brewer-Watson.  “Participation in this program has helped us understand the needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners in our community and we have been able to bring resources to our area to better support them.  The program facilitators have helped us build a better process for business licensing and regulations that has included translation into Spanish to better assist our growing Latino business community.  We are grateful to NLC for continuing to invest in our community and training the ECDA team to better meet the needs of our entrepreneurs.”


The CIE program, an initiative of the National League of Cities, helps cities adopt policies, programs and practices to give underrepresented entrepreneurs more opportunities for economic advancement. Participants select an area of focus for their programs to support economic growth in their communities, including working with startups, creating microlending platforms and improving access to procurement opportunities for MWBEs. Now in its fourth year, this network has grown to include more than 250 cities, 300 local partners, and $100 million in committed resources.


Kankakee has pledged to formalize local/regional networks of entrepreneurial and small business support organizations (i.e., resource partners) with the goal of better coordinating outreach in minoritized, rural, other marginalized communities, organized around targeted small business goals and objectives.


“Leaders of America’s cities, towns and villages recognize that racial and gender equity are key ingredients to economic growth in communities,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of NLC. “We look forward to working with new members of the City Inclusive Entrepreneurship program to bring their commitments to fruition and create economies in which everyone wins.”


Kankakee joins 40 other cities from across the country that have made a total of 55 commitments. As part of its participation in the CIE program, Kankakee will receive direct technical assistance, information sharing with other cities and partner organizations and financial support to help implement its program.


The CIE program is made possible in partnership with and support from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. For more information about the program, click here.


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About the Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA):


The Kankakee Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA) is a local government agency whose mission is to improve the lives of Kankakee residents and enhance the economic vitality of communities through housing, economic development and community development. The ECDA administers programs that serve the neighborhoods and residents of the City of Kankakee provided by federal, state and local funding. For more information, contact ECDA at 815-933-0506, Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit our website at


About the City of Kankakee, Illinois:

The City of Kankakee is dedicated to protecting, building and nurturing the community while enhancing lives. We are a historic, vibrant and active riverfront community. We continue to transform into an extraordinary place to dream, grow and thrive. Embracing our diversity, we strive to be progressive, inclusive and innovative. For more information on the City of Kankakee, please visit the website at

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