Incubators and accelerators, including Chicago's famed 1871 and others, focus primarily on developing a new business and making its succeed.
Now, John R. Dallas Jr., CEO of Hillview Partners Network LLC, said it's time for a so-called illuminator.
ENCLAVE for Entrepreneurs at O'HareBusiness: Education and networking for entrepreneurs
Location: Elk Grove Village
Founder: John R. Dallas Jr.
In other words, he believes it's time to illuminate or focus on the entrepreneur and the psychology behind starting and maintaining a business. People need to learn about the ups and downs of running a business, because the human aspect often could make or break a new venture. That is often overlooked, he said.
"With all of the millions of dollars that we spend on incubators and accelerators and colleges, there's still a 90 percent failure rate for businesses," said Dallas, 67, a Gold Coast Chicago resident. "Something's wrong and we're focusing too much on the venture and not on the venturer."
Dallas' answer is ENCLAVE for Entrepreneurs at O'Hare, a new learning and networking center in Elk Grove Village that opens June 14. A grand opening celebration is planned for the fall. The center is the first in a nine-year plan that aims to open more ENCLAVE centers near major airports in New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Edinburgh, Scotland and elsewhere.
ENCLAVE is an acronym that stands for Education, Networking, Collaboration, Leads, Acceleration, Validation and Excellence. It is different from 1871 and college business centers, such as Harper College's Small Business Development Center, which focus on the business, a business plan or product.
ENCLAVE instead heavily focuses on the entrepreneur and the psychology and emotions behind the business and its relationships with key stakeholders. When entrepreneurs enroll in a 14-week program, they pay $1,400 and bring along someone different each week, such as their attorney, an investor, their banker and others who partner with them. The entrepreneur and their stakeholder guest spend one evening a week for three hours and explore their relationship and how to make it beneficial for the business. There will be three cycles of these 14-week programs during the year.
In addition to the program, ENCLAVE is membership based and costs $10 per month for entrepreneurs to have access to the facilities, Dallas said.
ENCLAVE, inside a former Wintrust bank building at 75 Turner Ave., houses classrooms and conference centers. It also offers rental of desks and offices for business use. There will be a TV studio, videoconferencing and showrooms for demonstrations. Amenities include a bookstore, gift shop, espresso bar, wine tasting room, recreation room with Ping-Pong table and more.
Comcast Business, a sponsor, has provided and installed state-of-the-art technology as well.
Wintrust and the village support the new not-for-profit as part of a public-private partnership, said Josh Grodzin, Elk Grove director of business development and marketing.
"John (Dallas) wants to launch Enclave here in the suburbs because it's needed here. We have a lot of people interested in starting a business," Grodzin said.
Grodzin also nods to Dallas' lengthy list of accomplishments with businesses nationwide. Dallas is founder of Hillview Partners Network, a global alliance of independent consultants, coaches and speakers who focus on finance, technology, people and other topics. He is also past president of Chicago Title Credit Services Inc. and other organizations. He's a regular speaker at universities and is a mentor for Silicon Valley's Founder Institute for technology startups.
ENCLAVE intends to focus on the entrepreneur's overall potential for personal, professional and financial success. It aims to lower the number of career and home-life catastrophes among entrepreneurs, such as divorces. And it plans to reduce the frequency of business and household bankruptcies, Dallas said.
Dallas believes that too often when a venture fails, the reasons are mistakenly attributed to adverse market conditions, the lack of funding, competition, bad luck or other causes.
Sometimes, it could be the entrepreneur's lack of readiness, inadequate venture-relevant competence, or other shortcomings that result in the bad performance.
"People get the illusion that Chicago is on the cutting edge when we're not," Dallas said. "They look at Groupon and think that's it on business success here. But cities like Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are doing better. Why are these other cities doing better than we are? We need to be more responsive to the entrepreneur, like they do in Australia and Scotland."
Dallas believes businesses are failing in the Chicago region because politicians don't admit to what's not working.
"There may be one or two that succeed and then you have a lot of businesses failing. But are we learning from those failures?" Dallas said. "This is not about teaching about risk, but about the uncertainty. We need to work through the human issues."
Dallas wants ENCLAVE to focus on the psychology behind the business person and provide the right assessment and support to help them achieve their plan.
One instructor will be David Morrison III, a consultant and psychiatrist with Palatine-based Morrison Associates Ltd. He and his father, David Morrison Jr., have worked extensively with leaders in Elk Grove Village, Lake Forest, Winnetka, Woodridge, Highland Park and other suburbs. They have provided consulting work that focused on team building, leadership skills, strategic planning and how to deal with conflicts, among other areas.
"ENCLAVE is the first center that focuses on building relationships and leadership skills," said Morrison III. "It's also the first center that houses that vision we've had on working with business people. It's going to be neat to have a place for these people to make connections and to learn."