Business Resources

1. Sunshine Enterprises

(Chicagoland Entrepreneur Workshops)

P: 312-868-0040

2. U.S. Small Business Administration

(Funding programs, business assistance, business planning)

3. Ladder Up

(tax assistance, financial education)

4. The John Marshall Law School

(Community enterprise & solidarity economy clinic)

5. Google Cloud Startup Program

6. Department of Commerce

(Specific to your state)

7. Chi Biz Hub (Illinois businesses)


(connecting local businesses to anchor institutions)

9. Community Law Project (Chicago legal assistance for nonprofit & small business)

10. North Lawndale Legal Clinic

(Free legal help)


11. Google Ads (Promote your business)

12. Google Digital Coaches Program (Digital skills training & coaching to help black and latino small business)

13. Bloom (business funding)

14. Kiva

(0% mission driven small business loans)

15. Accion

(Small low interest business loans)

16. CIBC 

(Entrepreneur loan program)


(Workshops, mentors , startup resources)

18. National Women's Business Council

(Webinars, meetings, business resources)

19. Blue Lacuna (co-working technology and innovation space)

20.International Franchise Association

21. Listings nationwide and helps you find businesses for sale as well as business brokers in your area.

22. Financial Literacy

Email: Phone: (855) 972-5895

23. Entrepreneurship Program

24. Reparations Inc.

Anonymous free online service for people of color

Graphic design, Photography, videography,  editing & more

Do you know of any business resources not listed above? Please add them to our comment section below.


Aaron Smith, founder of Escaping The Odds, grew up in public housing on the south side of Chicago. It was there that he got involved in a heroin drug operation that produced up to $15,000 a day. As a result of his crimes, he was later indicted for conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl resulting in death. He was sentenced 12 years in federal prison. While serving nearly a decade in jail, Aaron had a drastic mindset shift. He decided, with God's help, that it was time to switch hustles from selling dope to chasing dreams. As an entrepreneur, podcast producer, and mentor, Aaron continues to contribute to the ever changing narrative of the formerly incarcerated. He escaped the odds and seeks to empower anyone who desires to do the same. Together we can change lives by switching mindsets and hustles. Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Formerly incarcerated? Looking to invest in innovative startups? Searching for dope fits to rock? Struggling to start or grow your business? At Escaping The Odds we want to tap into the next level of freedom with you. Check out everything we have to offer.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Connect With Us

Photo taken while in prison.

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Website Designed by: Megan Monroe