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Illinois Black Chamber Pushes Black Business Agenda Into 2019 By Lord Mic Williams

The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce continues to champion the pro Black business agenda in 2019.

Let’s begin by first announcing the Chamber’s proud partnership with the (WNBA) Women’s National Basketball League and The Chicago Sky! This is a phenomenal group of professional athletes. We’re looking forward to some great times at Wintrust Arena and hope to take you with us so stay tuned.

Congratulations to one of our ILBCC Spotlight Partner Members, IDG Architects for exhibiting their resolve to expand their personal business footprint into the Illinois markets. IDG Architects was founded by Ben S. McMillan III in Houston Texas in 2001, as a multi-disciplined, full service architectural firm offering a full-range of architectural services including survey and analysis of existing facilities, programming, planning and interiors. IDG is guided by the principle that conscientious, proper design has an enduring value.

Quickly upon meeting Mr. McMillan, Chamber President Larry Ivory recognized the reciprocative value in having that level of expertise in Illinois, and the Central Illinois markets specifically. It goes much deeper than the market though.

Being a Black professional, which represents less than ½ of 1% of that industry, yet founding and operating a very successful architectural  firm with four decades of extensive background in educational, governmental, commercial and worship facilities, Ben has a special sensitivity and inclination toward strengthening Black communities, which rings familiar with President Ivory. He could tell that Mr. McMillan clearly understood the importance of perspective and conveying to Black youth the beauty and rewards in architecture, hard work and achieving goals.  He could tell that Ben “got it” so he went straight to work convincing him to get engaged with the Chamber in Illinois. IDG was already looking at several sites throughout the continental U.S. to strategically expand their footprint.

What did present a small challenge was the adjustment of the relationship with a number of the procurement agencies that should be doing business with Black vendors and contractors, which some are not. Frankly, that’s a problem that the Chamber addressed on behalf of IDG and all Black businesses. With the Chamber as their champion, IDG Architects have secured major contracts in Central Illinois with ISU, Parkland Community College and has opened historic opportunities with Illinois Central College.

The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce is shifting the paradigm of how Junior Colleges and other Higher Education Institutions do business with Black Vendors and Contractors.

The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce is helping to create a statewide infrastructure by which we can both foster and sustain economic mobility for Black communities for generations to come. One area of particular pride is the statewide network of Black media outlets and creators that help to mobilize the ideas that help strengthen our narratives. Communication is a critical developmental tool and the Chamber not only makes real-time investment in it but also strategically strengthens the platform by creating strong relationships within the network.

The Chamber is also making real-time progress across the state with Municipal and Governing Bodies such as the Department of Corrections, Higher Education Institutions such as Southern Illinois University, Illinois Healthcare Systems and Managed Care Organizations, Gaming Organizations and of course the Black Media Network to “celebrate successes & spotlight shortfalls” as we move the agenda.

It’s also important to keep a clear focus on our political agenda as well, lest we be bamboozled and left holding that empty bag again. With some significant bills, a capital budget vote, and Lobby Day coming up soon, this year we need every hand on deck and every vote in the ballot box to move the Black business interest!

Please know that the Chamber is here for YOU! We want you to plug-in and begin your journey of personal and professional growth and development too. That’s very important to us!

Get a bird’s eye view of what’s important to the Black business community by texting ILBCC to 22828 for a free subscription to our Black Business News Journal.

For more information on the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce visit