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Small Business Resources


Strategic business intelligence provided by ReferenceUSA is now available free of charge to Kankakee County, Illinois, industries and entrepreneurs, as well as investors considering relocation to the community. Through a joint partnership with the Kankakee Public Library and the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce, the following GIS-optimized information is now available to those conducting corporate market and competitive analysis for business and consumer applications:
  • U.S. Business data, including business category (SIC and NAICS codes), leadership and contact information, employee size, sales volumes, business expenditures, credit ratings, franchise and brand information, headline news, etc.
  • U.S. Historical Business data
  • U.S. Consumer/Lifestyle data, including median home values, median home income, personal interests, etc.
  • U.S. Jobs/Internships data, including company name, business type, positions available, etc.
All data is optimized for geographic searching and reporting using ReferenceUSA’s state-of-the-art mapping tool. Data can be configured with presentation-ready visualization tools, including user-friendly charts, graphs and maps.
Existing/prospective industries and entrepreneurs seeking to access this data may contact Alliance Director of Marketing & Business Attraction Lisa Wogan

ReferenceUSA, a leading software as a service (SaaS) reference and research database from Infogroup, provides real-time access to more than 24 million businesses and 262 million consumers to researchers, students and job-seekers.

Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC)

IMEC was established in 1996 to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Illinois' small and mid-sized manufacturing firms. The organization links a company's long-term plans and related goals with on-site implementation services by identifying performance gaps, solving these gaps, and building a culture to support sustained improvements. IMEC helps optimize operating capacity, implement advanced product and process innovations, increase sales and enter new markets, and improve profitability. Learn more at

Small Business Saturday

Led by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce Business & Entrepreneurial Development Committee, Kankakee County Small Business Saturday is a free, cooperative multimedia marketing campaign designed to increase exposure and sales for local small businesses. Held in conjunction with the national American Express campaign each November, our local program features a dedicated online portal where coupons can be created by businesses and shared and downloaded by the public. Chamber membership is not required for businesses to participate in the Kankakee County Small Business Saturday retail promotion. Contact Barbi Brewer-Watson at the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce for more information.

Accelerate Small Business Conference and Expo

Spikeball Inc. CEO and Kankakee native Chris Ruder will keynote the 2nd Annual ACCELERATE Small Business Conference & Expo, to be held Thursday, September 8, 2016, at Kankakee Community College's Riverfront Campus in Kankakee. A 2015 winner on ABC’s Shark Tank, Ruder will speak at the noon hour on corporate positioning with “Focused Growth: Thrive by Working Your Unique Market Niche.”

Breakfast keynote speaker for the full-day ACCELERATE event, which attracted more than 100 small business owners and managers in its inaugural year in 2015, will be Summer Alexander addressing, “Developing Your Marketing Plan of Action.” Alexander, a frequent speaker and best-selling author of “The Little Book of Big Marketing Ideas,” has been featured on WGN-TV, WCIU-TV, Black Enterprise, Jet Magazine and Rolling Out.

Hosted by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Kankakee Community College, Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County and ONU’s Catalyst Innovation Center, ACCELERATE 2016 will feature breakout sessions presented in three tracks: Development, Management and Sales & Marketing. Topics will include strategic planning, branding, business benchmarking, profit/loss and cash flow management, digital marketing, and local small business programs and financial incentives. Vendor exhibits will feature local and regional products and services useful to small business owners. A Chamber Business After Hours, open to all registered attendees, will conclude the day’s events.

Exhibitor registration begins in June; attendee registration begins in July.

EnterpriseU Business Plan Competition

The EnterpriseU Entrepreneurs Boot Camp & Business Plan Competition is an award-winning, 8-week small business development program that provides business plan mentoring and development services, free small business coursework, professional networking opportunities and prize package eligibility to startups that commit to siting in Kankakee County. Prize packages include a combination of startup capital, a suite of in-kind professional services and office/retail space. Previous program winners and participants include Crème of the Crop Catering & Food Truck, BC Systems Wastewater Treatment, Geek Speak, Arseneau Media, Carlile Architects, Align Yoga & Healing Arts, The Neighborhood Kitchen, Fit Body U and Spice Done Right. Program sponsors include Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Kankakee Community College, the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley, Olivet Nazarene University’s Catalyst Innovation Center, LinkPoint Media and The Daily Journal.

THRIVE magazine

The Spring 2016 edition of THRIVE magazine brings attention to small business and all of the resources available to them in Kankakee County. Feaured are the stories of local small business owners who have overcome barriers to achieve professional success. THRIVE 2016 is a publication of The Daily Journal and the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce.

Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce Technical Support

Individuals engaged in the finance/insurance, retail, business and professional services, non-profit, health care and hospitality sectors may connect with the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce to be directed to support and resources based on the business' discrete development stage, from startup onward.