Englewood Blue: this is just the beginning!

| Shelley Stern Grach

Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressing the crowd via @shelleysternIt’s inspiring to see collaboration in action and to watch how relationships evolve into a whole greater than the sum of the parts. Such is the potential of Englewood Blue, a business accelerator partnership between the Greater Englewood CDC and Blue 1647.

For the past several months, my colleague Adam Hecktman and I have had the pleasure to support four men of true vision: Emile Cambry of Blue 1647, Glen Fulton and Jim Harbin of Greater Englewood CDC and Bruce Montgomery, of OnePresence and TATV. And let’s not forget Jennipher Adkins — the woman behind the men. Strong personalities all, but with a common vision to provide technical, business and financial resources to the people of Englewood.

On May 19, Mayor Emanuel, local Aldermen and a host of business partners gathered to launch Englewood Blue and the Chicago Start Up Boot Camp. Roxanne Nava of the City of Chicago truly “opened the doors for Entrepreneurs”. The room was literally filled with entrepreneurs from all sorts of businesses—food service, manufacturing, technical, digital media—that make up a strong, diverse, lively community. There was a distinguished panel discussing what makes a successful business and a successful business community. The panel included:

The Panel was followed by a workshop on tips to “getting online”.

As the Mayor thanked all the supporters of Englewood Blue, you could feel the energy and the “positivity” in the room. Smiles all around because people could feel a brighter future happening—in the moment. A hearty congratulations to everyone associated with Englewood Blue, and a bright future to those who enter the doors with an idea for a new business venture. You’ve come to the right place.

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Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.