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Home > Business > Entrepreneurs  
  John H. Johnson
John H. JohnsonHis publishing (Jet and Ebony magazines) and cosmetic (Fashion Fair) empires earned Johnson the honor of being the first African American on the Forbes 400 Rich List.
  Marvin Camras
This Illinois Institute of Technology faculty member and early pioneer in the development of magnetic tape recording, created the video tape recorder and magnetic sound for motion pictures.
  J. Berni Barbour
Paving the way for music industry titans like Michael Jackson and P. Diddy, Barbour started the first black-owned music publishing company, writing spirituals like "Nicodemus, Yo' mus' be born again ..."
  Gustavus Swift
This meat-packing giant brought midwest beef to East Coast diners by ice-cooled railroad cars. Swift also used animal by-products for soap, glue, and fertilizer - leaving "nothing but the squeal."
  Abe Saperstein
Abe SapersteinAs one of sport's more creative promoters, Saperstein founded The Harlem Globetrotters in 1926. Saperstein used the name "Harlem" to communicate an African-American line-up despite the fact that they were from Chicago.

Entrepreneurs in Chicago

Ray Kroc built a trillion-dollar enterprise, initiated a global phenomenon, and spawned hundreds of imitators with a little restaurant named McDonald's. And he did it from Chicago. Kroc, like so many other local entrepreneurs, was more of an innovator than an originator. He took a good idea from a San Diego restaurant and made a phenomenal story. He is just one in a long line of Chicago entrepreneurial greats.

From the city's humble beginnings as a swampy settlement with a prime location, Chicago has always been a magnet attracting the next would-be business giants. That's because entrepreneurs have always known that the city is a stage already set with all of the pieces needed to succeed.

There's a vast pool of potential employees filled by a never-ending stream of recent graduates flowing from Chicago's many colleges and universities. Also supporting business, Chicago's transportation infrastructure of buses, elevated trains, railroads, expressways, and airports is second to none. The city also has a sophisticated network of banking and financial houses. If your product is something that needs to be made, then one of the region's 16,000 manufacturers should be able to help. Entrepreneurs know that this is the city that works.
Supporting all of these entrepreneurs are great organizations such as the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, an affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commence. There are also countless networking groups throughout the region in virtually any and every arena. Local success stories range from entrepreneurs like Carol Fox, who made Lyric Opera a creative force around the globe, to Gustavus Swift, who slaughtered cattle and hogs for a living. There were also entrepreneurs like Marshall Field, who gave the ladies what they wanted. And then there were those like the Everleigh sisters, who gave the men what they wanted with a high-class bordello.

So whether you are building the next big widget or innovating the latest thingamajig, Chicago is your town.