Chicago Business Opportunity Fair

53rd Annual Chicago Business Opportunity Fair

Due to the continued escalation of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ChicagoMSDC has redeveloped the 53rd Annual Chicago Business Opportunity Fair 2020!

While our nation continues to survive the looming threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been adapting to a “new normal” including restrictions to our daily lives personally and professionally. Unfortunately, that is not the only threat. We still have work to do in the face of injustice.

In fact 53 years ago, the Chicago Business Opportunity Fair was born from the Civil Rights Movement and the cries for justice. Turning the pain into a strategy, the Business Opportunity Day was founded in 1967. (VIDEO)

 The concept of supplier diversity was crafted as a positive approach to address economic disparity caused by the exclusion of minority businesses from corporate and government spending.

From Then to Now

This year’s conference theme, ENVISION 2020: Connecting the Dots is somewhat prophetic. Who could have envisioned what 2020 would look like? COVID-19 has proven we are all connected, whether we like it or not. Our opportunity in business is to make our connected relationships valuable and mutually beneficially, whether in-person or from a distance.

In spite of today’s threats and obstacles, ChicagoMSDC remains focused on the four pillars of our National MSDC network: Certify, Develop, Connect, and Advocate. Every day we should work towards building profitable and sustainable relationships with mutually beneficial outcomes for all of our stakeholders by growing minority businesses locally, nationally, and globally.

Now is the time!

We are excited to announce that this year’s Chicago Business Opportunity Fair (CBOF53) presented by Allstate will take on a new format to deliver immediate, online resources to our network over the next few months. There is no time to wait. We are adapting to a unique environment, changing variables, teleworking offices, civic unrest and threats of economic depression. The ChicagoMSDC will forge ahead fearlessly despite the uncertainties and unknowns.

You are Invited to participate

ChicagoMSDC welcomes the business community and public sector.

  • C1 | NMSDC-certified minority business enterprises (MBEs)
  • C2 | Other guests including non-MSDC certified minority firms, NMSDC affiliates, non-profit assist agencies
  • C3 | Corporate members (NMSDC Network)
  • C4 | Corporate, non-members

Honorary Chairs Welcome You

What to Expect from the Virtual Conference

  • FREE online workshop sessions for personal growth and business development
  • Special invitations for video matchmaking between certified suppliers and buying organizations
  • Live participation by Zoom or video replay on demand, in your own time
  • Meet and greet your new advocates from the ChicagoMSDC and MBDA centers
  • Engage in real-time Q&A or chat sessions with speakers, panelists and ChicagoMSDC staff

ChicagoMSDC Objectives

  • Celebrate and support the next generation of leaders, community advocates and owners
  • Introduce minority-owned businesses to the value of certification and the process
  • Deliver valuable insights to survive or minimize the negative effects of COVID-19
  • Demonstrate how to leverage technology to innovate and operate more efficiently
  • Connect certified MBEs to industry-specific, supplier integration opportunities
  • Highlight and showcase outstanding corporations and minority businesses in our network
  • Envision a new way forward with a refocused action plan for advocacy of minority communities

What's Next

July 14th – 1:00 – 3:00 pm Central
Bridging the Post-COVID Digital Divide
Subject: Technology (Business Smart Week with Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

July 15th – 1:30 – 3:00 pm Central
Video Pitch with Perfection
Subject: Technology (Business Smart Week with Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

July 16th – 11:00 – 12:00 pm Central
Value of Minority Business Certification; I’m Certified: Now What?
Subject: Certification

July 30th – 9:00 – 10:00 am Central
Keeping Your Business Secure and Resilient during the COVID-19 Crisis
Subject: Finances and Security

Registration details will be released shortly. Please stay tuned and follow our Eventbrite page for real-time event notifications.

The New Advocate: Leadership and Accountability

#CBOF53 hosted an informal, candid conversation featuring President and CEO,
Mr. Vincent Williams. This session entitled, "The New Advocate: Leadership and Accountability" was not only a welcome to the Council's new leader, but this was also a great opportunity to reflect on today's reality and the Council's future.

How will the ChicagoMSDC deliver needed resources to minority businesses, create opportunities for measurable growth, and make minority communities a high priority in our strategic plans? We had a great conversation.

Celebration of Excellence

On Saturday June 20, the ChicagoMSDC celebrated the Class of 2020 Dolores Saxton-Walker scholarship winners presented by ChicagoMSDC’s Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee. This year MBEIC presented a total of $30,000 in scholarships, supporting 10 outstanding Chicago Public School graduating seniors. Each scholar received $3,000 to defray college expenses for the upcoming academic year.  This is a fantastic time to celebrate our young leaders who were unable to participate in traditional graduation ceremonies and gatherings due to COVID-19.  If you are interested in supporting scholarships for next year, contributions can be made online.

Thank You

Special thank you all of our sponsors! We thank all of our speakers, panelists, producers and staff who have turned Chicago Business Opportunity Fair (CBOF) into a virtual online and on demand experience. CBOF remains the longest-running multi-day conference focused on economic empowerment of minority business enterprises!

Questions about registration or sponsorship?

please contact CYNTHIA JORDAN, Director of Events
Phone: 312-755-2555

Photos and Video

Consent to Use Photographic Images and/or Recordings: Registration for, participation in and/or attendance at NMSDC meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the attendee to ChicagoMSDC's use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s name, likeness, image, voice, comments and/or appearance in any and all media, including the Internet, for any purpose consistent with the ChicagoMSDC's mission, without compensation.


The Chicago Business Opportunity Fair (CBOF) is the longest running multi-day conference and trade fair focused on economic empowerment of minority business enterprises. Originally called the Business Opportunity Day in 1967, the success of the interactions between corporations and minority-owned businesses evolved with dramatic fashion.  The Business Opportunity Day was eventually organized by the Chicago Regional Purchasing Council, which ultimately blossomed into the National Minority Supplier Development Council in 1972.

CBOF is not only a signature event for the ChicagoMSDC, but it is also the foundational event that created a spotlight on the strategic benefits of supplier diversity.

Each year over 1,000 certified minority-owned businesses, buying organizations and advocates within supplier diversity attend the Chicago Business Opportunity Fair. This two-day conference is a unique channel for business development between minority business, corporate America and government agencies. Given the unparalleled networking and opportunities presented every year, CBOF has proven to be a valuable conference to learn from industry leaders, share successes, interact with C-suite executives and build profitable business relationships.

Whether you’re looking to expand your business, to develop new business connections, or to find new business opportunities for yourself, we hope you join us!