Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program

Through our partnership with Autism Angles Group, The Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program increases business leadership opportunites for people with developmental and/or cognitive diffrences such as autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and other related diagnoses.

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Application Due Date
October 4, 2024
Start Date
October 9, 2024
End Date
Gallery
Application Due Date
October 4, 2024
Start Date
October 9, 2024
End Date

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The goal of the Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program (NDEP) is to increase business leadership opportunities for people with developmental and/or cognitive differences such as autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD and other related diagnoses. Companies with neurodiverse leaders serve as role models for future entrepreneurs while illustrating that neurodiversity can be a strength and an asset for other firms.

We firmly believe that brain differences drive innovation and company success, and we want to encourage inclusive leadership teams across all business sectors. The Neurodiverse Entrepreneurship Program celebrates and invests in the success of startups and small companies that have neurodiverse leaders in their C-Suite (e.g., CEO, COO, CIO, CFO, Directors, founders, or cofounders).

What is Neurodiversity?

The term neurodiversity encompasses the idea that neurological differences, such as those seen in people with autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, for example, reflect normal variations in brain development. Iconic founders like Richard Branson(Virgin Airlines), Charles Schwab (Charles Schwab Corporation) and Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA) credit their success to their neurodiversity.

Selected NDEP Companies will receive over $19,000 in Grants and Services:
  • A $4,000 microgrant from Autism Angles Group
  • Access to Transition2Success Project's T2S-Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Support Model™ ($5,000 value)
  • Innovation DuPage Scale Membership ($2,700 value)
  • Participation in Owner to CEO, Innovation DuPage’s 10-week Business Accelerator Program ($7,500 value)  
Innovation DuPage Scale Membership

In addition to a $4,000 microgrant, selected companies will receive one year of Innovation DuPage Scale membership, as well as access to ID partner organizations, experts, and mentors.

How Our Partners Help

Autism Angels Group, Organization for Autism Research, Autism Community Ventures Microgrants and Mentoring

Being an entrepreneur or startup leader is challenging. Don’t go it alone!

Innovation DuPage is partnering with Autism Angels Group (AAG), the Organization for Autism Research and the Autism Community Ventures to embrace the power of neurodiversity! These partners bring to the table crucial funding for the Neurodiverse Entrepreneurship Program microgrants, as well as mentoring opportunities for participating companies.

Autism Angels Group (a nonprofit under fiscal sponsorship of the Organization for Autism Research) brings together capital and talent to aggressively drive economic opportunities and technology-driven solutions that create a positive social impact for the autism community.

The Neurodiverse Entrepreneurship Program is open to both new and current Innovation DuPage member companies from across the region. Priority will be given to companies formed, those or planning to establish operations within greater DuPage County.

The goal of the Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program (NDEP) is to increase business leadership opportunities for people with developmental and/or cognitive differences such as autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD and other related diagnoses. Companies with neurodiverse leaders serve as role models for future entrepreneurs while illustrating that neurodiversity can be a strength and an asset for other firms.

We firmly believe that brain differences drive innovation and company success, and we want to encourage inclusive leadership teams across all business sectors. The Neurodiverse Entrepreneurship Program celebrates and invests in the success of startups and small companies that have neurodiverse leaders in their C-Suite (e.g., CEO, COO, CIO, CFO, Directors, founders, or cofounders).

What is Neurodiversity?

The term neurodiversity encompasses the idea that neurological differences, such as those seen in people with autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, for example, reflect normal variations in brain development. Iconic founders like Richard Branson(Virgin Airlines), Charles Schwab (Charles Schwab Corporation) and Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA) credit their success to their neurodiversity.

Selected NDEP Companies will receive over $19,000 in Grants and Services:
  • A $4,000 microgrant from Autism Angles Group
  • Access to Transition2Success Project's T2S-Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Support Model™ ($5,000 value)
  • Innovation DuPage Scale Membership ($2,700 value)
  • Participation in Owner to CEO, Innovation DuPage’s 10-week Business Accelerator Program ($7,500 value)  
Innovation DuPage Scale Membership

In addition to a $4,000 microgrant, selected companies will receive one year of Innovation DuPage Scale membership, as well as access to ID partner organizations, experts, and mentors.

How Our Partners Help

Autism Angels Group, Organization for Autism Research, Autism Community Ventures Microgrants and Mentoring

Being an entrepreneur or startup leader is challenging. Don’t go it alone!

Innovation DuPage is partnering with Autism Angels Group (AAG), the Organization for Autism Research and the Autism Community Ventures to embrace the power of neurodiversity! These partners bring to the table crucial funding for the Neurodiverse Entrepreneurship Program microgrants, as well as mentoring opportunities for participating companies.

Autism Angels Group (a nonprofit under fiscal sponsorship of the Organization for Autism Research) brings together capital and talent to aggressively drive economic opportunities and technology-driven solutions that create a positive social impact for the autism community.

The Neurodiverse Entrepreneurship Program is open to both new and current Innovation DuPage member companies from across the region. Priority will be given to companies formed, those or planning to establish operations within greater DuPage County.

More information coming soon...

Sponsors

Program Partners

Investment Partners

Program Graduates

Testimonials

Melvin Henley
PAC Leaders

"The Construction Owner to CEO program was really phenomenal. It allowed me to do exactly what the title suggests: go from being an owner to a CEO! I highly endorse this program, so much so we had our Vice President come in the next season and benefit from it as well!"

Eduardo Salgado
CS Architectural Woodworking

"As a graduate of the Construction Owner-2-CEO program, I can tell you first hand, that Innovation DuPage has helped me scale my business. If you are a small business owner looking to take your business to the next level, enhancing your network, or searching for peer group of likeminded entrepreneurs, Innovation DuPage is the place for you."

Jackie Gomez
HACIA

"It's a really unique opportunity to create and curate a program designed to help business owners succeed and build their business in a very competitive environment. We are excited to partner with Innovation DuPage to create a more diverse and inclusive construction industry."

Yvonne Toney
The Cotton Seed Exchange

“Working with Innovation DuPage for the Owner to CEO program was amazing and the support and education received has really helped me to push my business a little further with new ideas, concepts and understanding the power of collaboration.”

Dr. Afua Aning
My Just Checking In

“ The Innovation DuPage Owner-2-CEO program has provided a pillar of support for our company as we grow into the future. By having a network of experienced professional networks to grow with and learn from, we can replicate a type of support generally restricted to those above the glass ceiling.”

Melissa Villanueva
Brewpoint Coffee

"ID has been an amazing educational and community resource for entrepreneurs. I enjoyed the Owner-2-CEO program and, to this day, still keep in contact with my cohort. ID doesn’t hesitate to connect and highlight business owners for opportunities.”

Brent Hasse
Flat LLC

"ID was hands-on in helping me properly position our product and get in front of the best partners for our company. Their support was instrumental is getting us accepted to the Techstars program, which has already started to shape our Flat and greatly improve our customer success."

Shian Jno-Lewis
The Tidy Queens

“Thank you to Innovation DuPage for creating a space that promotes collaboration among local businesses. The Owner to CEO program equips small business owners with the tools needed to work “on” instead of “in” their businesses. It was a total eye-opener and very beneficial in helping us take our business to greater heights.”

Nick L.
Wove

"As an autistic adult facing challenges in corporate and academic settings, entrepreneurism is vital for my self-sustainability. The capital and mentorship provided by the Neurodiverse Entrepreneur Program was critical to getting my startup off the ground. My company has become profitable just after a year."

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Miftha Syed
InstaPark Elmhurst University Student

"Participating in the Innovation DuPage BIG Idea Pitch Contest was an incredible journey filled with inspiration and growth. I cherished every moment of the experience. It provided me with the perfect platform to launch Instapark. This contest truly ignited my entrepreneurial spirit and reaffirmed my belief in the power of entrepreneurship."

Aaliya Khaja
InstaPark Elmhurst University Student

“The Big Idea Pitch Competition was definitely a remarkable experience for us! Being able to pitch our business idea to many entrepreneurs was exciting and we are excited to work on InstaPark to move forward and develop it into the app we've dreamed about. “

Joe Barron
Gray Matters Games

"As the first member company of Innovation DuPage, we’ve grown up together. I love being able to bounce different ideas off of other entrepreneurs, it saves all of us time, it saves us money, and takes our business to the next level."

Maureen Longoria & Lisa Burns
LivNow Relocation

"Innovation DuPage has brought us resources beyond belief. They’ve made connections with us that we could have never made on our own. What they have brought to LivNow Relocation is absolutely priceless."

Keith Wakeman
SuperBetter

“Kassidy (Our Intern) provided value to the SuperBetter company from day one. She provided valuable feedback on product design, created newsletters to update our SuperBetter community, and rolled up her sleeves to help get it done.”

Workshops

Public

Barry Saltzman: The Art of Selling Workshop

Jul 24
5:00 pm
Glen Ellyn, IL

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