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Special Report on Minority Owned Businesses

After 17 years of fits and starts, LeNardo Nelson Sr. of Chicago is ready to take his triple-sided windshield wiper to market.

A commercial lender at Harris Bank by day, Nelson has long dreamed of being an inventor like his father, who devised a sled with convertible wheels in the mid-1960s. But getting his wipers off the ground has taken far longer than Nelson ever imagined.

Recession Buster: Company radiates new sales

With a “no layoffs” pledge to employees, Julia Billen needed new sales to prop up her heating business.

Bringing new hope, new jobs to local economy

While many businesses remain cautious about expanding in a tough economy, entrepreneur Sandy Marsico is bucking the trend. She recently knocked down walls to expand her marketing and interactive design firm.

Entrepreneurs team up to spur local sales, jobs

Elster started Crop To Cup coffee to help support family farmers in Uganda, while Heins’ Bean & Body makes health-conscious coffee and tea beverages sold in cans. Both are hoping to jump on the locally produced food bandwagon to get products made by small Chicago-based companies noticed by corporate customers.

Wind energy start-ups seek capital to power up

With momentum building for clean energy, Chicago entrepreneurs Elizabeth Iwanicki and Giovanni Bonomi say demand for their wind turbines is accelerating.
Once they seal deals with prospective customers in the United States and abroad, their start-up, Tempest Wind Energy Inc., plans to add workers and move to a larger manufacturing facility, they said. “We know we will get the orders. I want to bring this business to Chicago. The whole idea is to get employment here,” Iwanicki said.