By Iman A. Jefferson
Photography by Lisa Predko
SHE IS: A Harvard grad who is helping small businesses thrive despite the economic downturn. Onyeagoro, 31, has launched newequitydaily.com, a blog and search engine for companies in the Chicago area seeking financial assistance. The site provides leads on local and federal grants, tax credits, and investors.
BIG MONEY: Onyeagoro’s strong track record includes her work as CEO and cofounder of O-H Community Partners Ltd., a Chicago-based management-consulting firm, where she’s helped nonprofits such as the Chicago Urban League raise more than $115 million in grants. Newequitydaily.com focuses on a different level of economic empowerment. “Typically, African-American businesses are undercapitalized when they start out,” she says. “This site will help them get the funding they need to fulfill their dreams.”
WORDS OF WISDOM: Onyeagoro advises company execs to find low- or no-cost ways to advertise, like speaking at industry or trade events, hosting free webinars, or contributing content to local newsletters and publications. She also recommends sharing office space with other organizations to save money.
HER INSPIRATION: “Since I was very young, I’ve dreamed of working to improve local economies in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Onyeagoro, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. “I felt compelled to launch my business in the U.S. for inner-city communities that suffer from poverty-related issues.”