Small Business Speed Dating Program Heads to Chicago

In addition to making a variety of beers, Samuel Adams is also active in small business mentoring, and its Brewing the American Dream program offers micro-lending and coaching for small business owners working in food, beverage, craft brewing and hospitality

Its latest event is the Speed Coaching and regional Pitch Room competition, which will be held in Chicago on Monday, April 7th. Speed Coaching, which has already helped more than 4,000 small business owners across the country returns to Chicago, and for the first time will be hosted in partnership with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago's Small Business Advisory Council.

Speed Coaching will be held from 7:00-9:30 p.m. CDT at Ignite Glass Studios (401 North Armour Street) and provides access to top industry experts. Attendees will participate in up to six 20-minute, high-impact sessions in areas such as sales and distribution, packaging, and finance with expert coaches from Samuel Adams, the City of Chicago, local businesses, and Accion, the nation's leading nonprofit provider of small business capital and coaching.  

"Our Speed Coaching events have helped thousands of small business owners across the country by offering real-world, expert answers and advice," said Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams. "We're so impressed by the City's dedication to helping the small business community in Chicago, and are excited to partner with Mayor Emanuel to help maximize our impact." 

Small business owners working in food, beverage, hospitality and craft brewing can register online for the free event at, and are encouraged to bring questions regarding specific business challenges they face, as well as samples of packaging, point of sale items, and other material on which they seek feedback.

"City Hall and the Small Business Advisory Council are committed to strengthening small businesses in Chicago by partnering with successful companies like Samuel Adams to teach by example," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Chicago Speed Coaching will be the first event in the Industry Coaching series through Step up Chicago, and is just one of many powerful ways we support small business owners across the city."

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition
On April 7th, Chicago will also be the first host city of the 2014 Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room, a national competition that helps small business owners hone and perfect the art of the sales pitch.

As part of the Pitch Room, select small business owners working in food, beverage and craft brewing present their best sales pitch to a panel of expert judges who provide constructive feedback and ultimately select a regional winner based on pitch quality, creativity, passion, and product viability. In Chicago, the Pitch Room judges will include:

Jim Koch, Samuel Adams brewer and founder Jay Goltz, small business owner, New York Times small business blogger, and author of The Street Smart Entrepreneur Chef David Burke, President & CEO, David Burke Group, Celebrity Chef Sandra Vox, assistant sales manager at Jewel Osco Michael Binstein, owner of Binny's Liquors Tim Borden, on premise chain buyer for Ala Carte Jon Jahnke, general manager of Town & Country Distributors

The winning small business owner will receive a trip for two to compete in the year-end finals in New York City where he or she will have the opportunity to compete for $10,000 and extended mentoring from Samuel Adams.

Microloans Making a Major Impact  
In addition to Speed Coaching and the Pitch Room, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream is impacting small businesses in Chicagoland through micro-lending in partnership with Accion. In Chicago, the program has lent nearly $200,000 to 24 small businesses in the metro area to help them achieve their dreams. For example, Kris Schoenberger, owner of BBQ'd Productions received a loan to expand his mobile catering company, including purchasing more equipment and evolving into a full-service party business.

"It is our pleasure to partner with the Boston Beer Company and the City of Chicago's Small Business Advisory Council as we work to bring access to capital and industry knowledge to small business owners in our region," said Jonathan Brereton, CEO of Accion Chicago.