The pressure is on for some top entrepreneurs in the Chicago area. They'll be presenting their ideas "Shark Tank" style to a group of local business elite in Millennium Park at The Momentum Awards.
Local entrepreneur Coco Meers came up with a revolutionary new beauty app and her dream is to see it grow into a huge success. She's just one example of the type of business owner powering job growth in Chicago.
"The next six months are all about really finalizing the playbook and figuring out exactly how to really nail this market," Meers said. "Then after that, it's onto a few more key markets and then a lot more after that."
Small businesses account for the vast majority of economic growth in the US and in Chicago. Technology companies help lead the pack.
Coco's "Pretty Quick" site and app provide jobs, but multiplies its economic effect as it boosts revenue for local salons and spas.
"The salon and spa industry is a $60 billion industry," Meers said. "It's a big industry that's highly fragmented. There is not one major platform out there that makes it easy for people to find and book appointments online."
All you have to do is pull up Pretty Quick on your mobile device or tablet, and within five minutes you'll have a list of high end options, often at discounted prices.
"Salons and spas have 40% unfilled capacity," Meers said. "Meaning even the best places in the industry are sitting there with empty seats."
At the Merchandise Mart's 1871 Startup Center, you'll find the eco-center of tech startups working on ideas like Coco's.
"There's a lot of great business-to-business companies helping businesses grow in Chicago," Mike Huffstetler said, "rather than consumer based companies which are helping grow Silicon Valley market."
"Chicago has played a huge part in how far we've come," Meers said. "The Chicago ecosystem has helped every step of the way."
Anna Davlantes has the honor of hosting the Momentum Awards. FOX 32 News will be profiling local entrepreneurs all week long, putting a spotlight on this important and growing part of our local economy.
Visit Pretty Quick's website for more information.