On March 17th, I had the pleasure to join Mayor Richard M. Daley at Westside Tech, a campus of Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, when he announced an expanded partnership between the Department of Business Affairs and Licensing and the City Colleges of Chicago.

Following are the remarks I was delivered after being introduced by Mayor Daley:

Thank you Mayor Daley.

Last Summer I received a call from the Department of Business Affairs and Licensing asking me to be the keynote speaker at the Business Works Seminar to be held at North side Prep High School near our bakery.

At the time I was not familiar with this program but I was invited to speak to small business owners/entrepreneurs about how my dad started in the restaurant business in
1940, how his cheesecake made its debut on the menu at Eli’s the Place for Steak
how the cheesecake made its debut outside Eli’s at the first Taste of Chicago in
1980 and then how the business has grown to become one of the country’s largest
specialty cheesecake bakers.

It was a rainy day and traffic was really bad… When I arrived, I found myself in a room with about a 100 people, over 20 government agencies providing resources to businesses and great sessions … offering business marketing, financing and technology workshops. There were three Alderman in attendance—Schulter, O’Connor and Laurino, which showed the strong City support for the program.

After my remarks I walked around and gathered information essential to any business owner. I immediately realized that this was the type of event we needed to be hosting at
the City Colleges…which need to be all about entrepreneurial success.

As an advisor and Chairman of the Business Advisory Board for Wright College, I am always interested in enhancing the opportunities to the students at the City Colleges
and this was a great opportunity for that.

Shortly after, I arranged a meeting with Mary Lou Eisenhauer of DBA. At the time, she informed me that the City wanted to grow this program and had intentions of working with the City Colleges.

It is a perfect fit. Not only will this partnership help City College students build upon their
educational experience; it will also provide the surrounding community an opportunity to access important resources and to build a relationship with a City College right in their community.

One of the benefits of this partnership is that participating colleges will have an opportunity to engage their business programs and honor a student entrepreneur. Doing so will bring attention to the business educational opportunities that exist right in the city college system.

As a business owner, I know new and existing business owners will benefit from this

We look forward to being part of the first Business Works Seminar at Wright College on Wednesday, April 9th.