Neighborhood Business Incubator Hums with New Grant Funding, Executive Director Award – McKinley Park News

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36Squared Business Incubator Executive Director Andrew Fogaty and Member Marketing Manager Megan Ryzy discuss fall seminar plans in the incubator’s loft office at 3636 S. Iron St. in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood.

Neighborhood Business Incubator Hums with New Grant Funding, Executive Director Award

The 36Squared Business Incubator, a non-profit Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and City of Chicago Neighborhood Business Development Center, has continued to grow and cement its place as a premier local business resource through more new funding and plaudits.

Executive Director Andrew Fogaty, who founded the incubator in 2017 in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood, received notice he is a 2020 Illinois SBDC State Star: an individual in the SBDC network who exhibits the highest levels of performance and shows a top commitment to helping small business grow.

Some of Fogaty’s small business clients “credit him with saving their companies” through the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic, a news release from the Illinois SBDC said. In 2020, Fogaty helped enable more than $4.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan funding for local companies to help keep them afloat, services the business incubator provided for free to its clients.

No-Cost Business Advising

“It’s no-cost business advising, and often that means assisting people with funding, SBA programs, grants and incentives, writing a business plan: pretty much whatever we can do,” Fogaty said.

“There’s still a lot of challenges related to the pandemic,” he said. “People are still feeling the effects of no business for 1-1/2 years.”

“Right now, it’s really hard for people to find staff, especially in the restaurant industry,” Fogaty said.

Federal Grant

More capacity looks to soon grow at the incubator thanks to an $80,000 grant of federal funds from U.S. Congress 3rd District Representative Marie Newman, who received approval for this from the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations as part of this year’s community project funding.

“It is critical that we support local incubators like 36Squared because they not only lift up our neighborhood businesses but also our entire community,” Newman said.

“These funds will allow us to expand and continue our services to entrepreneurs of all abilities in Illinois,” Fogaty said.

As previously reported here in the McKinley Park News, Newman had visited the 36Squared Business Incubator in October 2020 to speak on small business concerns while running for office.