Innovation DuPage Launches Construction Industry Owner-to-CEO Program

This press release was originally published by the College of DuPage in August 2020.

Construction Industry Program supporting Hispanic, female, Black and veteran business owners. In partnership with the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA), Innovation DuPage (ID) launched the Construction Industry Owner-to-CEO Business Accelerator, a program designed to support Hispanic, Black, female and veteran-owned businesses.

ID’s 12-week program guides participants as they scale their businesses, capitalizing on the knowledge of industry experts serving as instructors. The course modules are tailored for the construction industry covering insurance and bonding, the contract bid process, human resources, emerging technology and marketing strategies. The project management units, construction finance module and legal considerations units are led by industry leaders Power Construction and Mortenson, Glen Ellyn Bank & Trust, a division of Wintrust Bank, and Robins Platt and ICE Miller, respectively.

Launched two years ago, the Owner-to-CEO program was structured to accelerate the success of small business owners seeking to fine-tune and scale their operations. With 45 program graduates, the accelerator program caught the attention of community leaders including those at HACIA.

Because of our shared commitment to serving underrepresented business owners, we worked with HACIA’s leadership to optimize outcomes for minority

-And women-owned business enterprises and disadvantaged business enterprises,” said Sam Guerrero, ID Community Engagement Manager.

HACIA Executive Director Jorge Perez said the partnership with ID allows the association to support the building of small construction-related businesses in and around the western suburbs.

“For more than 40 years, HACIA has been an advocate for the equitable participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in the construction industry,” Perez said. “Creating a customized curriculum led by industry experts is a high-value way to extend HACIA’s mission and to help grow the pool of qualified minority- and women-owned firms who will shape the future of the construction industry.”

Lilly Aguilar, program participant and construction cleaning business owner, said she applied for the program to learn how to expand revenues.

I don’t know of anywhere else in this region that could replicate the kind of experience found at Innovation DuPage.

She said. “The accelerator program provides me with key skills that will further strengthen the foundation of my business, allowing me to grow financially. I want to be able to use and apply the resources and techniques offered by this program to improve my skills as a woman and minority business owner.”

Travis Linderman, ID Managing Director, said that business owner could gain access to the broader network of vetted mentors and investors.

“The program’s format provides a competitive advantage for underestimated entrepreneurs seeking to strengthen their access to financial and legal expertise,” he said. “The network that is developed between participants serves as a stabilizing support system that lasts long after the accelerator’s conclusion. Graduates have the potential to transform the long-term health of their companies by working together on projects to secure new clients and contracts.”

Innovation DuPage can help transform your idea into a viable commercial venture. Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to explore your next steps. If you are interested in connecting with entrepreneurs like you, check out our public events.

Economic First Responders

This article was originally published on The Daily Herald Business Ledger on May 13, 2020 titled “Working Together to Keep Business as Usual.”

During these critical times, a network of Economic First Responders is needed more than ever before. Joseph Cassidy, Assistant Vice President of Economic Development and Dean of Continuing Education and Public Services at College of DuPage shares the work of economic development agencies and the resources that are available for the small business community.

Key Takeaways

  • Economic development agencies are adjusting swiftly to changing demands by transitioning their resources and programs online
  • Local organizations such as Choose DuPage, workNet DuPage and College of DuPage Business Development Center are contributing business support services
  • Supporting small businesses and uniting as a community will help move us forward
  • Working Together to Keep Business as Usual: Dean Cassidy

    The Great Lockdown in response to the coronavirus will likely lead to a recession that is more severe than that of 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund. While a highly educated workforce, a diversified set of industry clusters and strong municipal and county leadership have mitigated impact, it is clear that we are all going to have to work together to support the small businesses that will drive economic recovery.

    Collaboration between regional workforce boards like workNet DuPage, economic development agencies like Choose DuPage and College of DuPage’s Business Development Center (BDC) is critical. These entities are working with regional chambers of commerce, the business incubator/accelerator known as Innovation DuPage (ID) and a number of colleges and universities to continue the necessary support of the small businesses that are impacted most during these uncertain times. COD’s BDC houses the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as well as the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Illinois International Trade Center.

    The BDC Center staff is working around the clock to help companies apply for payroll protection, business loans and to develop contingency plans while seeking to expand revenue streams. In fact, the BDC offered over 42 webinars, served hundreds of clients with over 500 hours of free consultation since mid-March.

    Undoubtedly, the closure of society followed by a gradual reopening to prevent the spread of the coronavirus will have dramatic and negative consequences on both large and small businesses.

    We encourage everyone to support the small businesses that make the region unique. At the same time, we see opportunity as new business ideas, products and modes of delivery are created in response to the closures and continuing public health safety precautions. Innovation DuPage reports higher than normal client volume as startups consider new business opportunities and young companies look for guidance in navigating these unprecedented times.

    While these economic development partners miss the face-to-face connection with clients and members, each has moved services and resources online to support business continuity.

    We see opportunity as new business ideas, products and modes of delivery are created in response to the closure

    The DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering virtual tours of area attractions to help residents and businesses connect even while social distancing keeps us apart.

    Choose DuPage, and workNet DuPage, along with chambers of commerce, the BDC and ID are also conducting webinars, Zoom meetings and virtual meetups to continue learning and connection across our regional business ecosystem.

    For instance, the COD BDC and the Naperville Chamber of Commerce offered “Small Business Current Financial Disaster Relief” as a webinar, and Innovation DuPage sponsored Concordia University’s “Cougar Tank” virtual student pitch contest.

    ID, COD Business Solutions and the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association are collaborating on two new programs to further diversify the talent pool for both new and mature construction companies.

    COD Adult Education, the BDC and ID are collaborating on an entrepreneurship course for English language learners. The partners and clients have been extremely flexible, as all of these efforts were moved online and are continuing quite successfully. This agility and willingness to collaborate are critical to recovery.

    Almost overnight, schools moved thousands of courses from on ground to online. The challenges to staff and faculty alike are immense, but these efforts, when assessed and refined, will ultimately promote increased efficiency and improve pedagogy.

    College of DuPage is gearing up to serve not only the students who were planning on attending this fall, but also those who may be hesitant to go away to school at this time.

    I’ve witnessed an aligning of leaders and philosophies over the past several years in support of regional cooperation in the area of economic development — I think this needs to continue into the future, with large and small companies, municipalities, colleges and universities continuing the shift to a ‘coopetition’ model which benefits the whole as well as the individual organization. As we seek out the new normal while working in this quickly shifting environment, we need to stay alert for new opportunities. Through heightened collaboration and synergy, we will move from surviving to thriving in the months to come.

    Thank you to Dean Cassidy for featuring ID in the many entities that are ready to serve the community. Together we are boundless.

    Connect with Dean Joe Cassidy on Linkedin.

    Innovation DuPage can help transform your idea into a viable commercial venture. Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to explore your next steps. If you are interested in connecting with entrepreneurs like you, check out our public events.

    Innovation DuPage Reopening Guidelines

    This is a living document that will be updated as guidance evolves. Please check back often to ensure you are working with the most up-to-date information. We are all working through the ever-fluctuating news and regular changes to the COVID-19 State guidelines.

    The ID Community should note that Innovation DuPage continues to deliver many services virtually over Zoom and Slack.

    Current Phase: 4

    GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • The health and safety of the ID Community as a whole is our top priority. We will foster a culture of safety.
  • We will follow science and the guidance of experts. We will not lead on this, but lag in moving from phase to phase as we learn from others.
  • We will err on the side of more restrictive measures at the outset and relax them as we can. Returning to the office space is a privilege and carries responsibilities each of us has to one another.
  • IDHQ Modifications

    The safety of the ID Members, ID Team and the public who visit our facility remains our top priority. As such, members and visitors who must conduct business in person will notice changes when entering the facility in following the Illinois Department of Health guidance for reopening public spaces:

    1. Face coverings are required for all visitors to Village of Glen Ellyn facilities.
    2. Social distancing measures are in place requiring at least 6 feet of distance between all members, visitors and staff.
    3. All visitors must enter only through the north entrance of the Glen Ellyn Civic Center (on Duane Street) using the center door. Remaining doors can only be used as emergency exits.
    4. The ID slash card do not work on any other doors in the GE Civic Center.
    5. There are partitions at the public-facing department counters in the Civic Center to protect visitors and staff, and hand sanitizer is available for use.
    6. IDHQ’s front door at the top of our stairs will remain closed all day from 8am – 4pm. Members will need to utilize their re-activated slash cards in order to enter the facility.
    7. Innovation DuPage’s hours match the Glen Ellyn Civic Center hours 8am – 4pm. We have an additional 30 minutes to exit the building before the doors are locked at 4:30pm.
    8. There are plastic partitions between working spaces (at least 6-feet apart) throughout IDHQ and the flow of traffic is directed per signage.
    9. Seating is assigned by individual company and cannot be used on a first-come first-served basis.
    10. Conference room usage needs to be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance directly with staff.

    The ID Team

    To help maintain the limited capacity restrictions, between 1 – 4 ID team members will work in the shared space at any given time on a semi-regular basis, with the rest continuing to work remotely. The Director of Operations is present on a regular basis.

    Travis Linderman (Managing Director) holds 1-on-1 Zoom consultations from 10am – 3pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and most Fridays. You can schedule them here.

    Travis will be at IDHQ each Wednesday to meet with Members individually and tour new startups.

    Business Hours

    Business Hours During Phase 4, revised business hours of Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm are in effect to promote the safety of our on-site team, and to correlate with the hours that the Glen Ellyn Civic Center is open to the public. IDHQ is not open on Saturdays and Sundays. There are no evening hours. We are monitoring the visiting patterns of our community and will adjust as needed to promote a safe environment for everyone.

    Entrance and Exits

    All members must enter only through the north entrance of the Civic Center (on Duane Street), using the center door. We are encouraging one-way traffic as much as possible to reduce the chance of congestion. Please follow signage in the office. Slash card access continue to be turned off to the doors outside – but work on the door to enter IDHQ. Social distancing measures are in place.

    Movement

    Each ID Team Member is housed in a closed-door office. It is your responsibility to check in with one of them when you arrive – so that your temperature can be taken. A blue line has been set up – to ensure that a 6 foot distance from the office doors are maintained until both you and the ID Team Member can ensure that the temperature protocol does not signal a problem and that masks are secured properly. Conversations with ID Team Members require that ID Members stay behind this blue line, unless agreed upon separately.

    When You Arrive Each Day

    Movement throughout the space is dictated by one-way directional signage. Please follow the signs to prevent congestion or pinch points where physical distancing could be compromised. Blue tape has been placed throughout the space to help build guardrails for social distancing and protect any member that is sitting down from all directions.

    Doors

    All interior doors, including conference rooms, are propped open to limit touch points and improve air circulation. Unless absolutely necessary, please do not close these doors. If you must close the door for privacy, limit your time in the room and wipe down the surfaces and door handles upon exiting

    Kitchen Access

    The refrigerator, microwave, cutlery and dishware are not available for use in this phase to minimize touch points. Go support a local Glen Ellyn restaurant.

    Supplies

    We have hand-sanitizer and antibacterial wipes throughout the space for your use. Additionally, ID Team Members frequently cleaning shared surfaces throughout the day and GE Village staff clean and wipe down all surfaces each evening.

    Events

    All events will be virtual until further notice. Webinars will run more frequently in later Fall.

    Per ID guidelines, no gatherings larger than 10 are allowed. We are utilizing the event space for additional company seating. Unfortunately, this means no events, large team meetings, happy hours, shared meals, or social gatherings are permitted on Innovation DuPage premises. During July and August we will not have Stand-ups, Workshops or any other in-person events.

    Parking

    The Parking Deck Construction has begun – therefore all parking behind the GE Civic Center has been eliminated and the rear entrances have been shut off for the remainder of 2020. We will keep you informed on the timeline of construction as we learn more. New parking passes will be distributed for the summer and available parking lots will be highlighted through a separate document.

    Shared and Reserved Space

    Restrictions will require us to designate specific rooms and/or desks to each company. Conference room usage needs to be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance directly with staff. Therefore, for those of you who are comfortable in returning, we need to know how many members to expect and how frequently you would intend to use IDHQ.

    Once capacity is reached, we will send an alert on our Slack channel (#announcements). Please monitor this channel, if you arrive after capacity is reached, you will not be allowed entry to the space. Email iduramk@innovationdupage.org if you need help joining ID’s slack workspace.

    Visitors

    To exercise caution, our space is only open to Innovation DuPage keycard holders and our team at this time. ID Members are responsible to inform the ID Team when Clients will be visiting the building – in order to conduct the same health screening that all members go through each day. We will continually monitor this guideline and will notify you when we are able to relax this safety measure.

    Seating and Conference Rooms

    Seating and conference rooms have been reconfigured to a very limited capacity and spaced (at least 6-feet apart) for physical distancing. Whenever possible, doors are required to be kept open to provide proper ventilation. Additionally, the facility is set-up for maximum social distancing. Some rooms have been taken offline completely. Conference rooms are available for booking meetings of a limited number of people depending on the capacity that each room allows. Members cannot move chairs or tables without consent from ID staff.

    PROTOCOLS:

    We require the following safety measures to be taken by everyone in the space:

    Do not come into the space if you are sick, you WILL be turned away.

    This is a good CDC reference for self-checking symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. For the sake of other visitors to Village facilities, IDHQ and our staff, we ask that you please stay home if you or a member of your family are currently ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including but not limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Bluish lips of face
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Temperature Check and Health Screen

    Upon arrival, an ID Team Member will take your temperature and you will be responsible for answering a series of short health questions. This includes your good-faith certification that you are not presenting any of the commonly known symptoms of COVID-19. This enables us to promote a safe environment for everyone in the space. Be aware that health monitoring including temperature checks will be a feature until deemed unnecessary by ID staff.

    Hygiene

    Please practice good hygiene to protect yourself and others — there is signage as a reminder of best practices.

    Face Coverings

    Face protection/face coverings that cover both the mouth AND nose are required all times in the facility. If you need a resource for ordering face protection, please contact us at ID@InnovationDuPage.org beforehand. We do have masks on reserve in case of an emergency. Please bring your own mask. Also, if you have a favorite sanitizer – bring it.

    Innovation DuPage can help transform your idea into a viable commercial venture. Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to explore your next steps. If you are interested in connecting with entrepreneurs like you, check out our public events.

    Small Business Resources to Overcome COVID-19

    The information in this post was last updated on September 17th, 2020.

    To help entrepreneurs and small business owners find the help they need, we have compiled a list of resources targeted at COVID-19 related business challenges. This list will be updated as new information and resources as they become available.

    The College of DuPage Business Development Center website is being updated daily with information for COVID-19 Small Business Assistance.

    See something we missed that should be included? Shoot us a message at ID@InnovationDuPage.org.

    Financial Help

    Loans and Grants

    Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

    The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program developed by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Applications for a second round of funding are set to go live September 17. A total of $220 million will be made available for small businesses of all types in Illinois. Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other eligible operational costs.

    SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant

    SoGal Foundation partnered with Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, Lively and other sponsors to provide several $5,000 and $10,000 cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19.

    GoFundMe Small Business Relief

    GoFundMe is offering matching grants of up to $500 to help small businesses that have created a fundraiser through the Small Business Relief Initiative or had an existing GoFundMe fundraiser.

    WomensNet Amber Grant

    WomensNet distributes $1,000 monthly grants to women with small businesses, for a total of at least $10,000 every month. They’ve also expanded their grant-giving to include a year-end grant of $25,000. Deadline: Rolling

    Red Backpack Fund

    GSpanx and The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund, making at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19. Rolling Deadline

    Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) grants

    Operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the MBDA helps minority-owned businesses access the resources they need to grow, with regular grant competitions. Visit their site for information on various current opportunities. Rolling Deadline

    Main Street Lending Program

    The Federal Reserve Board of Governors acted on June 8 to allow more small and medium-sized businesses to be able to receive federal Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic financial support via low-interest loans. The program will lower the minimum loan amount, raise the maximum loan limit, adjust the principal repayment schedule to begin after two years, and extend the term to five years, providing borrowers with greater flexibility in repaying the loans.

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

    The CARES Act was unanimously passed by Congress on March 27th, 2020 and is the largest economic stimulus package in American history. This act involves multiple areas of assistance and this link will help you better understand what may apply to your small business. For additional information, check out the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist’.

    The Paycheck Protection Program is included in the CARES Act. This program is designed to keep small business workers on the payroll. More funds have been replenished and applications are now being accepted. Due to the increase in volume, the site has been experiencing technical difficulties. If you have trouble accessing the site keep checking back. Need help with questions please contact The College of DuPage Business Development Center.

    Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Relief Loan

    This loan brought to you by the SBA can be used for: Fixed Debts, Accounts Payable, Payroll, other Bills. For more details and information on how to apply, check out our dedicated ‘SBA Disaster Injury Loan’ post.

    Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)

    The WBDC knows that access to capital is critical for business success. They provide loans to small businesses who otherwise cannot get a loan from a bank.Loans are available to small businesses located in Northwest Illinois and targeted towards businesses with less than $1 Million in annual revenue.

    Illinois Department of Commerce Loan

    Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is there to assist. By working with the state’s banking community and venture capitalists, they help entrepreneurs and small businesses.

    Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund

    The Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund will help to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate health crisis. Applications will begin to be accepted on March 31, 2020.

    Facebook Small Business Grant Program

    Facebook is offering cash grants and ad credits to businesses that may be experiencing disruptions in these uncertain times. The money given can support your workforce, help with your rent costs, connect with more customers, and cover operational costs.

    Honeycomb Credit

    Community sourced loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 via the crowdfunding platform. Honeycomb is offering 45-day payment free periods, 6-month interest-only periods and reducing their posting, success, and investor fees.

    Worknet DuPage

    Worknet DuPage is providing worker training grants intended to help manage the cost of training new employees through the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) . This grant is applicable to various industries and occupations including healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, accounting, office & clerical, trucking & logistics, and more.

    Tax Relief

    Research and Development Tax Credit

    A government-sponsored tax incentive that supports businesses that conduct R&D in the United States. The tax credit is more comprehensive than most realize. Businesses of all sizes can apply and do not need research labs to be eligible. The credit is meant to encourage innovation and maintain technical jobs in the U.S.

    IRS Tax Relief

    The IRS is offering tax help for taxpayers, businesses, tax-exempt organizations and others – including health plans – affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Illinois Tax Help

    In an effort to assist eating and drinking establishments impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is waiving any penalty and interest that would have been imposed on late Sales Tax payments from qualified taxpayers.

    What is Available to Employees as a Business Owner?

    COVID-19 Changes to Unemployment Rules

    Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. Please review this link for the information to assist your employees.

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

    This program helps those with low-incomes buy the food needed for good health.

    Tips for Working from Home

    Github’s Guide to Remote Work

    GitHub has curated a remote work emergency toolkit for leaders and managers and a remote work starter guide for employees to assist businesses during this time in order for everyone to maintain optimal productivity and stability.

    Facebook Minimizing Business Disruption During Emergencies

    Facebook is helping workplaces stay connected by helping minimize disruptions to businesses during emergencies. Utilize their multiple channels to stay in touch with customers and employees.

    Video Conferencing Services

    The following are video conferencing resources allowing businesses to stay connected and productive while working remotely.

    Microsoft Resources

    Google Hangouts

    Go to Meeting by LogmeIn

    Zoom

    DuPage County Business Help

    The College of DuPage Business Development Center

    The Illinois SBDC/PTAC/ITC at College of DuPage, as expert advisors, are here to advise and guide small businesses within our community. They post a weekly COVID-19 Small Business Update answering questions they receive.

    1-on-1 Business Mentoring

    Innovation DuPage is offering free 1-on-1 zoom mentoring sessions for all Chicagoland startup founders. What challenges are you facing? We will work through them with you. Get help with Fundraising • Brand Identity • Deck Review • Sales & Marketing Strategy • Customer Discovery Cash Flow & Burn Rate • Value Proposition • Market Research • Business Model Canvas • and MORE.

    Choose DuPage

    Choose DuPage is volunteering their expertise to assist businesses in DuPage County. Get help with Banking, Education, Insurance, Legal, and Marketing. Join the conversation on social media about what businesses and residents are doing to help during these times by using the #DuPageDifference.

    DuPage County Health Department

    A resource in maintaining the health and safety of residence of the DuPage county. Stay up to date on what is happening in your area.

    Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce

    View the WDCC’s informational fliers in relation to COVID-19 and how they are supporting businesses during this time .

    Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce

    View what professions are considered essential and non-essential along with a list of local grocery stores, pharmacies, medical offices and other critical services located near Glen Ellyn.

    New Policies and Legal Resources

    Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

    IDFPR has announced new guidance on license expirations dates, continuing ed deadlines, and more to help licensees maintain their licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    You can find the official press release here .

    Insurance Interruption Coverage

    Your business insurance may contain interruption coverage you can use during COVID-19, learn more by clicking the title.

    Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act

    On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed and signed. These are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act, and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Learn more about how this could serve you in the link.

     

    Innovation DuPage can help transform your idea into a viable commercial venture. Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to explore your next steps. If you are interested in connecting with entrepreneurs like you, check out our public events.