nnovation Dupage continues to work to make resources available to all. In partnership with the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA), Innovation DuPage (ID) has launched the Construction Industry Owner-to-CEO Business Accelerator, a program designed to support Hispanic, Black, female and veteran-owned businesses.
The Owner to CEO Accelerator is a 12-week program, where participants work to scale their businesses under the guidance of industry experts. The course modules of this Accelerator are specifically designed for the construction industry, covering essential topics like 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.
The Owner-to-CEO program is structured to accelerate the success of small business owners seeking to fine-tune their operation. The participants often come in with a firmly established business, and the accelerator teaches them the necessary skills to expand their organization even further. The program has been running successfully for two years, and has 45 graduates. Its success 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 owners 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’s Owner to CEO Accelerator offers specialized opportunities for individual and business growth, in communities that have largely been underserved and ignored. As COVID continues to take its toll on our local and national economy, the Owner-to-CEO Accelerator is evening the playing field, creating more equity in the construction industry and shaping a future where there is support for all who need it.
This press release was originally published by the College of DuPage.
Innovation DuPage (ID) is a non-profit venture that unites entrepreneurs and small business owners with the people, resources and programs that help them grow. We connect our members with vetted mentors who can help establish a strong foundation as they rapidly scale. Connect with us on our website, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or call 630-942-3340 to discuss your next steps.