Access to Capital Moderator

Howie BuschHowie Busch is a seasoned Inventor, Entrepreneur, Advisor & Attorney who has experienced success in a number of related businesses.  In June of 2017, he launched a Kickstarter campaign for DudeRobe that fully funded in just 2 days. Within 1 week of starting the business, the head of casting for Shark Tank tweeted at him. Three months later he was pitching to the Sharks.
At Billy Blaze Design, Mr. Busch designs and develops innovative products, which he typically licenses to leaders in that particular industry. Additionally, he consults for and advises numerous companies, leveraging his vast network of friends & colleagues to their mutual advantage.  Howie’s inventions also include the On-Hand Pillow/World’s Smallest Travel Pillow, Ugly Christmas Blankets™ and Wall Wobblers, a sports & entertainment bobblehead sold in Walmart. Other career highlights Include negotiating NFL contracts for players like 1st Round Draft Pick Tim Green, negotiating UNDER ARMOUR’S first pro sports license with the NFL.

Represented numerous sports broadcasters, producers and production companies, negotiating deals with ESPN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Turner, etc.

Access to Capital Panelists

Linda GomezWith well over 29 years invested in the banking industry, Kimberly is currently the Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager at U. S. Bank’s Englewood branch. Kimberly is an advocate of “financial literacy” and spends time with young people equipping them for the financial journey ahead.  In the spring of ’08, Kimberly’s concern for spreading “financial literacy” promoted her to spearhead an initiative between U. S. Bank and 89.3 WKKC – FM (Kennedy – King College) creating “FOCUS on FINANCE” w/ Kimberly Jones. The radio show aired at 9:30 am every third Saturday of the month and provided students and community listeners with helpful tips on how to save, manage and invest their finances. Kimberly serves as a board member for Art-R Open Hands Ministry, Secretary for School District 152 Foundation, Harvey, IL and Treasurer for Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s Center housed on the campus of Kennedy-King College.


Gerard MitchellJimmy Odom is the Co-Founder and CEO, Bit Capital Group & Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, ChicagoNEXT.  His career reflects over five years of executive level management along with an additional two years of junior management with additional marketing, business analysis and investing. Jimmy also serves as one of the leading key decision maker within start-up, entrepreneurial and expansion environments. Each leadership role possess a demonstrated record of success to analyze the viability of ideas, design products, and services that appeal to new growth opportunities, develop creative strategies to achieve goals, and implement processes that produce significant internal and external user engagement and a loyal customer base.


Gerard MitchellKevin Davenport, Associate Loan Officer at CNI, has over 6 years of public relation and business development experience and is responsible for helping with the growth of CNI’s micro lending program. His duties include front-end technical assistance, underwriting, approvals, closings, post loan technical assistance, portfolio management, partner outreach, board relationships and fundraising. Prior to joining CNI, Kevin worked as the Marketing Director for Pi Surveying Group and Business Development Manager for RevLocal. Kevin earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications at Lewis University. He is a member of Metro Board of Chicago Urban League and Chicago Leadership Alliance.