Chicago DNC to promote minority-owned businesses during national spotlight

The Democratic National Convention is expected to provide big business for Chicago.

As part of Asian American Pacific Islander Month, FOX 32's Joanie Lum spoke with a community leader who is making sure minorities are included.

Rich Wang just opened a new restaurant in Andersonville. Minyoli specializes in cuisine from Taiwan. Every detail was carefully planned, including inviting Megan Nakano in for advice. 

"Restaurants are suffering this year. The changes in the industry are challenging. I don’t think they ever truly recovered after Covid. It’s challenging to get employees in the service industry," Nakano said. 

Nakano founded the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, to connect people and small businesses to impactful work.

She was selected to serve on the Democratic National Convention’s Business Diversity Committee, to ensure inclusion in the workforce that will put Chicago on the world stage.

Businesses will be hired for specific products. She said they’ll provide "event services, that sort of stuff, printing the badges people will wear, anything it takes to put on a large convention."

"We're also putting together a list of Asian American restaurants and tourist attractions for folks coming to town for the DNC convention," Nakano said. 

The DNC will attract national exposure and shine a light on Chicago’s minority communities.

Chicago 11th Ward Alderperson Nicole Lee has worked with Nakano for years. 

"It's really great there are people like Megan who have contacts at various levels in government to connect to business and vice versa when I can refer to people if I have a business in the community who could use assistance," Lee said.

Nakano is a fourth-generation Japanese American. She credits Asian American leaders with helping her develop a business network. 

Her purpose now is to promote others. 

"You can do it and we're behind you. When you falter, we'll be there to help. That's what I would like to be for the next generation of people," Nakano said.