High Growth Illinois aims to create jobs by helping businesses take off

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Free business advisory services, educational programming and networking for high-growth companies will be available at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Harper College in Palatine through a new program called High Growth Illinois.

The program, which began providing counseling services last month and plans to roll out more offerings this fall, is targeted at companies with the potential to achieve $5 million in revenue within five years. By helping small businesses grow, the program aims to create local jobs.

The program is currently offering counseling on business plan creation, strategy, sales, marketing and funding sources, said serial entrepreneur Jeff Weber, program manager. It plans to add educational programs and networking events this fall. One goal is to help startups find mentors and establish boards of advisers who can help guide the companies.

“Ideally the one thing I preach to startups is forming an advisory board,” said Weber, who previously launched a technology company and sold it to a Fortune 500 firm in 2006. Advisory board members can provide connections to suppliers, customers and investors, he said. The program will work with existing organizations serving small businesses and is currently seeking entrepreneurs willing to serve as advisers, speakers or workshop leaders, Weber said.  

The SBDC at Harper College received a grant through the Small Business Jobs Act to fund High Growth Illinois as well as new programs on youth entrepreneurship and financial management, Weber said.  Small businesses that don’t fit the high-growth requirement of the new program still can receive assistance through the state’s Small Business Development Centers, listed under the resource section of SmallBizChicago.com.

For more information, contact Jeff Weber at jweber@harpercollege.edu.

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