Wednesday, August 26, 2020

UIS to host a free public COVID-19 webinar on “Economic Impact, Disparities and Opportunities for Black-Owned Businesses”

The University of Illinois Springfield Office of Economic Development and Innovation, College of Business and Management, College of Public Affairs and Administration and Innovate Springfield will host a free public webinar on “Economic Impact, Disparities and Opportunities for Black-Owned Businesses.”

The webinar will be offered 12-1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, and will be led by Bruce Sommer, UIS director of economic development and innovation.

Significant economic inequalities existed across Illinois and United States before COVID-19. The impact of the pandemic seems to be widening the gap. The webinar will explore how that gap could widen even further during the economic recovery. Early reports show roughly 21 percent of all U.S. small businesses closed during March and April. During that same time period, 41 percent of Black-owned businesses closed.

Ken Kriz, UIS distinguished professor of public administration, will share new data and understanding of the overall economic condition in the state and region focusing on the unequal impact of the current recession across the Springfield area.

Celebrating 217 Black Business Month, Dominic Watson, president of the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce; Gina Lathan, president of Rout History; and Kevin Lust, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College, will talk about the challenges, successes, opportunities and resources available to help grow local Black-owned businesses in Springfield.

Participants are encouraged to register for the event at, however registration is not required. The Zoom link for the event is and the Meeting ID is 939 7298 4635.

This webinar is part of a series aimed at providing the local community with expert information and quality resources to navigate these challenging times.

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