Action Steps for Small Businesses Following the 2023 SECC Symposium

Action Steps for Small Businesses Following the 2023 SECC Symposium


On Saturday, October 14, 2023 the South East Chicago Commission (SECC) held the Southside Connection Symposium, Pathways to a Multi-Million Dollar Business, at The DuSable Museum of African American History and Education Center.

The 5th annual regional economic development symposium focused on empowering entrepreneurs, fortifying startups, ensuring long-term sustainability, and equipping businesses for scalable growth in the Southeast Chicago region.

Attendees heard first hand, candid experiences, challenges, advice and resources to build a successful roadmap to scale up based on the leadership, capabilities and capacity of the business.



The keynote conversation featured Kimberly Lewis, CEO and Co-Founder of Curl Mix and Marc Brooks, President and CEO of Hyde Park Hospitality.

The executive leadership panel featured: Daryl Newell, Senior Vice President, Community Development Banking Market Manager, PNC Bank, Terrand Smith, Founder and CEO, 37 Oaks, and Dr. C. Adam Callery, Managing Director, Sagesse Lumier.


2023 SECC Symposium
Click image to view photo gallery.



Business owners were advised to utilize a team of four essential advisors  to develop successful operations and scale for growth:

  1. attorney
  2. certified public accountant
  3. personal banker
  4. business coach



One of the first steps that any growing business needs to take is a self-assessment.

When contemplating growth, here are a few objective questions you and your leadership team should address:

  • Do you have regular, reliable customers that will confidently spend money with your business in the months and years ahead?
  • Does your customer bases find it limiting or hard to reach you, buy larger quantities, or spend at their convenience with your business?
  • Is the business producing annual and sustainable profits that can be reinvested?
  • Is your industry or business sector growing? Are your most aligned competitors expanding in ways that you are not?
  • Will adding capacity with more employees, locations, and equipment generate more revenue and profit above the cost?
  • Are you financially, managerially, and emotionally ready for a fresh set of demands?
  • Are you, your family and partners, and team members prepared and secured for the journey and difficulties that might arise from scaling up? And what are the potential sacrifices that will be required to embark on this next move?



More than 67.9% of registrants for the Symposium identified access to capital and business financing in their Top 3 priorities and attendees received incredible insights and details about self-funding, various types of loans, securing lines of credit, profit reinvestment and crowdfunding.

Daryl Newell offered excellent business resources from a banker’s perspective and provided downloadable files that any small business owner could benefit from.



Speakers mentioned a wealth of resources for training, education and direct assistance including, but not limited to, the South East Chicago Commission, Chicago Neighborhood Business Development Centers, QCDC, university accelerators, 1871, Small Business Administration, and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI).

If you are an entrepreneur or know a business in need of help, please contact us. The SECC offers FREE consultations and resources as a Neighborhood Business Development Center and service provider for the Special Service Area #61 in Hyde Park.

To schedule a business consultation, visit

To see photos of this year’s Symposium, visit