Innovation DuPage Moving Ahead
By Brian Kleemann
As plans move forward for Innovation DuPage, a new business incubator and accelerator developed by College of DuPage, one of its partners has announced initial funding for startups and social impact businesses.
DuPage Impact LLC, a private investor group, recently hosted Investors Night at College of DuPage that attracted investors and potential investors to provide initial funding for startups and early-stage social impact businesses. Speakers included Kathleen Wright, founder and CEO of Piece & Company, and William W. Towns, Executive Director of Benefit Chicago.
Dr. Ann Rondeau, President of College of DuPage, who also spoke at Investors Night, highlighted the benefits of the collaboration not only among its participants, but also the clients it will serve.
“Strengthening existing businesses and helping new ones form ultimately benefits DuPage County and its residents,” she said. “Working together, we are confident Innovation DuPage will have tremendous impact on local business. This will extend the College’s ability to serve our constituents in a multitude of ways.”
Innovation DuPage, scheduled to open in 2018, will work as both a business incubator and accelerator connecting small businesses with the necessary resources to thrive and stimulate job growth. College of DuPage has worked closely with partners Choose DuPage, Rev3, Benedictine University, DuPage Impact and the Village of Glen Ellyn in developing concepts. College of DuPage has a history of working with local businesses through the establishment of the Business and Professional Institute (now Business Solution) in 1979 and the Center for Workforce Development (now the Center for Entrepreneurship) in 1984.
Joe Cassidy, Dean of Continuing Education at College of DuPage, told participants that progress is being made to further develop Innovation DuPage programmatically as the partners move toward implementation.
“Innovation DuPage will allow us to extend our offerings to a larger audience, working together with other groups to create a pool of resources for startups and developing businesses,” he said. “This is an exciting process and one we eagerly anticipate sharing.”
College of DuPage Board Chairman Deanne Mazzochi applauded the efforts of all Innovation DuPage partners and shared her support for the project.
“Our administrators and partnership leaders are developing a strong plan, which will provide a high level of service and assistance to new and developing businesses,” she said. “We are committed to this process and as details become more finalized I look forward to fully sharing our vision for Innovation DuPage with our constituents and stakeholders.”
DuPage Impact LLC is collaborating with College of DuPage and Innovation DuPage to find, train, develop, support and invest in start-up and emerging for-profit companies that provide products and services with a social impact and encourage job creation in DuPage County. Founded in May 2017, DuPage Impact was formed to stimulate innovation throughout DuPage County and help foster an ecosystem of entrepreneurism.
For more information about Innovation DuPage, visit www.cod.edu/innovation_dupage.
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