In an era where cities are competing for new business, some communities in the Northwest suburbs are working together to help grow business in the region. Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg recently created a business accelerator program called Next Level Northwest.
The mission of the not-for-profit is to accelerate local businesses by bringing together municipalities to collaborate and ignite innovative ideas to grow and strengthen local established businesses.
There is a significant opportunity to help grow local companies as Schaumburg is home to over 5,000 businesses that employ 85,000 people.
Between the Next Level Northwest communities there are nearly 200,000 employees working in nearly 20,000 businesses. Schaumburg and Next Level Northwest is offering a free program to assist existing, small businesses so they can continue to operate and thrive in the northwest suburbs.
Next Level Northwest launched last year with two businesses successfully completing the program. Rada Auto from Elk Grove Village and Relish Catering from Schaumburg participated in a local pitch night and were selected for the free business acceleration program.
Both businesses have seen immediate results with revenue growth and additional employees brought onboard.
Rada Auto and Relish Catering were matched with approved professional business coaches for a 30-day discovery process period. The Next Level Northwest model then takes the businesses through a client-coach collaboration with the goal of identifying and overcoming barriers to growth, developing a long term business plan, and attaining an enhanced level of business competency.
Both Rada Auto and Relish Catering learned how to solve challenging business issues and increase productivity with support and guidance from the Next Level Northwest professional business coaches.
The pursuit of business excellence is a journey, and Next Level Northwest is committed to supporting businesses as they continue on this path. Upon completion of Phase 1 with the business coaches, participating businesses will be given access to the Next Level Northwest network of regional business mentors.
The businesses will work on furthering their development and Action Plan through a 12- or 24-month mentor commitment.
When communities work together, the regional economy grows. Next Level Northwest is based on support, wisdom, and ongoing development and is a new resource for existing small businesses.
The Village of Schaumburg looks forward to collaborating with our municipal partners on Next Level Northwest and igniting growth for local second-stage businesses.
Businesses who are interested in the free business accelerator program are encouraged to apply at www.nextlevelnorthwest.org.
• Matt Frank is director of economic development for the village of Schaumburg.