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DuPage Impact LLC to Collaborate with College of DuPage to Fund Startups

DuPage Impact LLC Announces Initial Funding for Social Impact Business Startups at COD Innovation DuPage

In the world of new business incubators/accelerators the most difficult piece is supplying initial funding to give smart motivated entrepreneurs time to flesh out their ideas and develop a viable growing business. The business incubator efforts that fail or underperform most often do so because they do not include this component. DuPage Impact LLC solves that problem, providing an initial funding source for startups and early stage  social impact businesses.

Innovation DuPage, due to open in 2018, is a new initiative being developed by College of DuPage to provide a new business incubator/accelerator in DuPage County that will foster economic development and job growth in the region.

July 2017 Link to COD Board Release

DuPage Impact, LLC and College of DuPage (COD) will collaborate to help 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.

DuPage Impact, LLC was formed to stimulate innovation throughout DuPage County and help foster an ecosystem of entrepreneurism. Founded in May 2017, DuPage Impact, LLC is an investor organization comprised of motivated, qualified investors committed to strengthening the economic health and future of DuPage County with a focus on funding startup and early stage for profit social impact businesses.

“Social impact businesses are unique for their dual purpose of striving to make a profit while making a difference for the communities they serve,” said Paul LeFort, co-founder of DuPage Impact LLC.   “Our goal with DuPage Impact is to attract and channel investment dollars and other resources toward the development of promising companies that will thrive in creating products and services that generate a positive social impact.”

DuPage Impact will implement best practices from the successful efforts of Impact Engine and 1871 in Chicago to grow new businesses in DuPage County. Impact Engine was a Chicago-based accelerator

program, of which LeFort was a founding investor and mentor. It was started in 2012 before transitioning to a venture fund in 2015.

Impact Engine has supported 37 companies over the last five years with the help of over 500 mentors and investors. In addition, these companies have attracted more than $45 million in follow-on investments and created more than 360 jobs.

“I grew up in an entrepreneurial family,” said Tom Wendorf, co-founder of DuPage Impact LLC . “My father founded a gasket manufacturing business in a garage in 1941. The success and growth of that business paid for the journey from my family’s truck farmer roots to college education and a comfortable middle-class life within a couple of decades. My subsequent success in business drives me to give back to the community that provided a place for my success. I want others to experience what I have.”

DuPage Impact LLC plans to provide initial funding for both startup ($25,000) as well as early stage (up to $ 100,000) to for- profit social impact entrepreneurs who seek to do good while also doing well financially.

Space, mentoring and support services will be provided under agreement with Innovation DuPage, the cutting edge private/public innovation center hosted by College of DuPage in collaboration with other West Suburban colleges. Startup companies will participate in an up to 16 week Boot Camp at Innovation DuPage culminating in a “friendly shark tank “event used to raise growth capital.

Register for our e-newsletter announcing the application solicitation process and timing at the bottom of this page, or contact us.



For more information, contact:

Paul LeFort

Tom Wendorf

Dean Joe Cassidy

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