Quentella Enty has been a champion of Chicago’s small businesses for years. As the Supplier Diversity Program Manager at the Chicago Urban League, Quentella became a bedrock in her community, providing invaluable assistance and support to thousands of Chicago-based small businesses.
At ICIC, we’re deeply thankful for Quentella’s support for the Chicago cohort of our Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program. ICCC Chicago’s 400 graduates have created 1,751 jobs, averaged 82% revenue growth and raised over $245 million in capital. A large measure of that success is due to Quentella who has been our top nominator. In the past three years, she has nominated over 200 companies for our program, with more than 50 of those companies participating in the program!
In 2018, Quentella transitioned from her role at the Chicago Urban League and became Director of Strategic Sourcing & Sustainability at KFA, Inc. a small, but rapidly-growing minority-owned technology company based in Chicago. In fact, Quentella nominated her new company to the ICCC program, and their CEO, Greg Bush, is an alumnus of the 2017 cohort. While remaining firmly committed to bettering her Chicago community, Quentella’s geographic scope has dramatically widened while at KFA. KFA is an information technology consulting and services firm that was recognized in 2019 as the Regional National Minority Supplier Development Council and Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council’s Supplier of the Year-Class II. KFA has recently developed PHAZE, a Project Management Information System, that allows project managers to use their mobile devices to manage projects and enables data to be entered when there is no cell reception. Quentella recently travelled with KFA to Kenya, where these features are essential to many remote projects, since wireless connectivity is often not a given.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quentella saw many of her beloved small businesses suffer multiple heartbreaks. As Quentella put it, “when things get crazy, my mind looks for solutions on how to make things better.” And that is precisely what she set out to do. Quentella set out to “save lives and save businesses”, by spearheading an effort to connect local businesses with state and commercial purchasers on supplying PPE materials, including masks and face shields. She partnered with the State of Illinois Business Enterprise Program and the Quad County Urban League to host a webinar on “Doing Business in a Whole New World of PPE”, and personally worked with many businesses to coach them on how to pivot their businesses during this crisis.
In the wake of the recent demonstrations following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent anti-racist movement that caused further damage to communities and businesses, Quentella reached out again to form another panel with the Quad County Urban League called VIP: VOTE, INVEST & PRAY-A discussion to Educate, Encourage & Empower , to address issues of systemic racism and economic opportunity. Part of the panel’s message was to, “get people to listen to the anger and empathize.” Furthermore, the expert panelist offered tangible immediate solutions and resources to help individuals still impacted by COVID-19 and social unrest recover, offered resources to rebuild healthy communities and policing relationships, small business funding assistance, mental trauma assistance, policy reforms and voting assistance toward community development support. “People need to talk and not lose hope. White and Black have to do it together, we are entwined.” Quentella is a unifier, not a divider. She envisions small business as a golden opportunity to find common ground: “Business is a great place to start!”
While Quentella is all about creating positive change, there are a few constants. Wherever her work takes her, she will always be deeply involved and committed to her Chicago small business community and will always be looking for ways to bridge differences to create impact. She sees the ICCC program as a great avenue to give businesses the tools they need to grow, prosper, and bring quality jobs to their communities. We are deeply honored and proud to be associated with Quentella.
ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities though innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents.
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