ROCKFORD (WREX) — In the 1980s, Larry Ivory saw a problem across Illinois.
"We were taking a look at some issues and challenges, and we looked on boards like the original chamber of commerce board, and we didn’t have any black presence at all," Ivory said.
That’s when Ivory and others started Illinois’ Black Chamber of Commerce which aimed to help Black entrepreneurs excel in business and create generational wealth.
"If a person owns his business and brings life into that business, then he or she is employing people and making a difference and that’s exactly what we need and exactly what we’re looking for."
Saturday marked the launch of Rockford’s own chapter of the Black Chamber of Commerce. One of the founding board members, Wayne Fricks, says the chapter will encourage the city’s young entrepreneurs to grow and thrive.
"There are all kinds of young people in the city of Rockford that run different businesses," Fricks said. "We wanted to give them a some sort of platform. We want to come alongside you, support you and empower you in what you’re doing."
Fricks says the chamber will put young, Black entrepreneurs with experienced Black business owners. Additionally, Fricks says the chamber will help new businesses find funding if they need it. He believes helping the Black community become more business savvy will boost the community as a whole.
"I think that brings empowerment," Fricks said. "That’s not only empowering the Black community, but the overall community in Rockford."
The chamber says it will announce more events in the near future to try and meet with local businesses and business owners.
July 10, 2021 at 10:18PM