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Forum: Inspiring Entrepreneurship

  • February 08, 2024
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • The Art Center of Highland Park


  • School affiliation required.


Inspiring Entrepreneurship

Join us for an inspiring evening with three entrepreneurs from different industries at a various stages of their careers. The speakers will share their secrets to success and how they reached their goals. An exhibit hall will feature even more entrepreneurs sharing their goods and services.

Know someone interested in tabling at the exhibit hall? All are welcome to apply. See the exhibit hall application on the Forum + Events page.  

The Exhibit Hall will open at 5:30pm, speakers will start promptly at 6:30pm. 

Bob Crawford - Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

Crawford started Brook Furniture Rental and turned it into a successful company over 36 years, selling it in 2014.When he retired he was looking for something more and in 2016, working in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust and Allies for Community Business (A4CB), Crawford created the Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab (NEL) with a mission to support and empower entrepreneurs of color to strengthen challenged communities.

 NEL looks for entrepreneurs who have been in business two to four years and are in their 30s and 40s.  A $20,000 grant is awarded to the entrepreneur at the end of the fifth month to help grow their business, including purchasing capital equipment, inventory or signing a new lease for a larger space to house their business. 

Crawford is hoping to expand the NEL initiative into Lake County soon, focusing on the communities of Waukegan and North Chicago.

John Lonergan - Founder and Former CEO of Big Blue Swim School

John and fellow competitive swimmer, Chris DeJong, founded Big Blue Swim School in 2009 to teach students how to swim with achievable metrics in a welcoming and fun environment. John will share his story of building a successful business, selling it, and starting new one. 

Linda and Jasmine - Co-Owners of Furry Finesse

Linda and Jasmine will share their journey in building a successful dog grooming business. After working at other grooming salons, big and small, the pair new they needed to team up and fulfill their dream of owning their own studio. After opening 4 years ago they now own their own thriving salon and show up happy every day. 

Questions? Contact us a info@northshorecivicclub.org. 

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