Agenda and Registration

Opportunity to Action will include in-depth panel discussions and presentations with some of the foremost national thinkers and Chicagoland leaders in the Opportunity Zones and equitable development space.

To register for an Opportunity to Action session, click the blue “Register” button below the session description. We invite you to attend one session, all seven, or somewhere in between!

Please register for each session individually. There are no registration fees to attend Opportunity to Action.


Day 1: Introducing Opportunity Zones

Tuesday, August 25

 

Opportunity Zones Overview for Businesses and Entrepreneurs / 9:00 – 10:00am CDT

What are Opportunity Zones and how can they help support the development and expansion of Chicagoland businesses? During this session, speakers will provide an overview of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive and how its structure and mechanics can be applied to new and existing business ventures. Participants will learn about the different ways to capitalize and manage an Opportunity Zones business, all while ensuring community buy-in, wealth-building, and entrepreneurialism.

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Speakers:

 

Investor-Focused Opportunity Zones Overview / 10:30 – 11:30am CDT

What are Opportunity Zones and what do they mean for Chicagoland’s real estate investment ecosystem? During this session, speakers will provide an overview of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive and ways in which it can be leveraged by the investors, philanthropic organizations, and others with investable assets to support social impact projects and equitable development. 

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Speakers:

 

Opportunity Zones Overview for Small- and Mid-Size Developers / 1:00 – 2:00pm CDT

What are Opportunity Zones and why are they important for Chicagoland’s real estate development community? During this session, speakers will provide an overview of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive from the viewpoint of a project developer. Participants will learn about how developers can approach working with Opportunity Funds, ensuring community benefit in Opportunity Zones projects, and more.

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Speakers:


Day 2: Opportunity Zones Businesses; CDFIs and other Financial Intermediaries

Wednesday, August 26

 

Applying Opportunity Zones to different business models and attracting investment locally / 9:00 – 11:00am CDT

How can Opportunity Zones be used for different types of business development? Presenters will discuss how Opportunity Zones can be used for a variety of business models, existing businesses outside of Opportunity Zones interested in expansion into them, businesses interested in potentially using family capital, and more. This session will help participants determine which is the right path for their businesses and how to attract investors to them. Participants will also learn about accredited investor requirements, non-accredited investor platforms, and examples of actual Opportunity Zones business projects from across the country.

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Speakers:

 

How can Opportunity Zones support CDFIs and other financial intermediaries? / 1:30 – 3:00pm CDT

What are the Opportunity Zones investment mechanisms that can support CDFIs in leveraging the incentive to assist their constituencies? How can small business lending products align with or leverage the Opportunity Zones incentive to support Chicagoland entrepreneurs and small businesses?

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Speakers:

  • Manuel Flores, President and CEO, SomerCor 
  • Steve Hall, Vice President and Senior Director, LISC Economic Development Lending 
  • Dan Klaff, Attorney, Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen
  • Julia Shin, Vice President and Managing Director of Impact Investing, Enterprise Community Partners

Day 3: Opportunity Zones Investors Forum

Thursday, August 27

 

Opportunity Zones Investors Forum / 9:00 – 10:00am CDT

This moderated discussion will feature Opportunity Zones and social impact investors from across Chicagoland and from across the country. Panelists will discuss their targeted markets, social impact investment parameters, return requirements, partnerships, and more. 

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Speakers:

  • Benjamin Bornstein, Managing Director, Arctaris Impact Investors
  • Monika Elgert, Vice President, Project Management, National Equity Fund, Inc. 
  • Scott Goodman, Principal, Decennial Group/Farpoint Development
  • Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development, City of Chicago

Day 4: Leveraging public sector initiatives and finding opportunities in Chicagoland’s Opportunity Zones

Friday, August 28

 

Leveraging public sector initiatives and finding opportunities in Chicagoland’s Opportunity Zones  / 9:00 – 10:30am CDT

Join representatives from the City of Chicago, Cook County and the Illinois Medical District who will provide an overview of targeted economic development initiatives available throughout Chicagoland, including INVEST South/West, the Lincoln Highway Industrial Corridor, and more. Panelists will also discuss specific project and site opportunities, as well as additional local public incentives that support Opportunity Zones work

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Speakers: