A “Shark Tank” approach is helping Aurora-area women and men in business develop their skills and graduate from a program that promotes innovation in the Kane County workplace.
The Women’s Business Development Center held a graduation ceremony April 14 for participants of the first cohort of its ScaleUp Aurora program April 14 at Waubonsee Community College in Aurora that featured this “Shark Tank” approach inspired by the ABC-TV reality series.
Graduates of the WBDC were given the chance to pitch their strategic growth plans to a panel of business experts and public and get feedback.
The WBDC is a non-profit, nationally recognized economic development center now in its 29th year that provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs, including counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance in English and Spanish. The WBDC is headquartered in Chicago and has an office at the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce offices located at 43 W. Galena Boulevard in Aurora.
“The shark-tank finale enables ScaleUp participants to further refine their business plans as they strive to bring their bigger ideas to reality,” said Emilia DiMenco, president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center. “They will be in a prime position to create more jobs and help grow the economy.”
Graduates from the first ScaleUp Aurora cohort are Luisa Buehler, The Hire Solution; Kim Granholm, Aurora Fastprint; Dana Lundin, VARA Design; Katherine Montegomery, Servpro of Aurora; Nancy Munro, KnowledgeShift; Maureen O’Brien, Global Women’s Leadership Forum; Megan Paul, VARA Design; and William Small, Jazz Perspectives.
Last year, the WBDC was selected by the Small Business Administration as one of eight organizations nationwide to participate in its ScaleUp program. Cohort members must be entrepreneurs currently generating revenues between $150,000 and $750,000 and ready to grow. They must have been in business for at least two years and have at least two full-time employees. The 12-session program, which is offered at no charge, is a proven entrepreneurship education curriculum for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and offers one-on-one support, mentoring, access to capital, opportunities to build and strengthen connections and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
For more information, visit http://www.wbdc.org/EstablishedBusinesses/WBDC-Aurora.aspx.
SOURCE: Women’s Business Development Center press release