ACER supports the small and micro-businesses that are the economic backbone of BIPOC immigrant communities in the Northwestern suburbs. Our work includes connecting businesses to resources, providing free technical assistance and one-to-one business consulting, training for start-ups and new business owners, and distributing micro-grant funding and scholarships.

Business Services

No matter if it is an idea-stage venture or you have been operating for 25 years, our business services connect and support businesses with their pressing business needs. Services include:

Free Technical Assistance:

ACER consultants offer free services in Accounting & Bookkeeping, Business Strategy, Financial Advising, Human Resources, & Marketing.


With our partners, ACER hosts training sessions for aspiring and current business owners, so they can learn best business practices and navigate the day-to-day operations of their business.


Through our micro-grants programs, we are able to reallocate resources to businesses. We issue grants to business owners with various needs who may have traditionally faced barriers in accessing grants. Grant opportunities are offered at varying times throughout the year.

Find out more about our Business services:



ACER works in partnership with various levels of government local cities, counties, and states. To push for structural and programmatic policy changes to support better access to resources for BIPOC businesses, and community infrastructure. As well as civic leadership development for owners to advocate around policy changes.

Community Development Projects

Economic Hubs

The purpose of ACER’s community development work is to promote, sustain, support, and maintain community action. Community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions for community wealth building. Currently, we are working on creating Economic Hubs in the Northwest suburbs. These hubs will be intentional in providing direct funding to support community ownership models.

Blue Line Coalition

ACER is a part of the Blue Line Coalition (BLC), a group of community organizations focused on ensuring economic justice for our communities during the planning and construction of the Metro Blue Line light rail extension. The BLC is rooted in the BIPOC and immigrant communities that will be most impacted by this project. Since 2013, we have been working together to make sure government leaders recognize the Blue Line extension is a racial justice and regional equity issue and that community inclusion and leadership must be central to ALL planning and outcomes. Our mission is to work in coalition to build community-based power that ensures immigrant/refugee, low-wealth and Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities along the Blue Line Extension Corridor are able to stay in their homes and businesses, create wealth and economic development, and enhance their wellbeing and access to opportunity throughout the region.