DuPage Impact Social Enterprise Entrepreneurship

For Social Impact Entrepreneurs & Companies


Due to unforeseen circumstances, DuPage Impact has suspended its Fall 2017 call for applications. Please sign up for our email newsletter for future updates.

As a social impact entrepreneur, you have a passion for improving the world through a unique business model. DuPage Impact shares your goals, and we’re here to support you on your journey to success.

On this page you’ll find information on our approach, funding, requirements and the services provided to our portfolio companies. Services vary based on the stage of development a company is in. We generally sort companies into startups and early stage entrepreneurs; detail on those definitions are below.

For more information, please sign up for our email updates at the bottom of this page or contact us with questions.

Defining Stages of Development

DuPage Impact makes funding available at two different stages of company development.

Startup stage companies generally have a concept for a product or service and are in the process of developing their business plan, but have not yet started to acquire significant customers or conduct pilots. For these companies, DuPage Impact provides some initial funding as well as access to a robust Boot Camp training and development program to enable portfolio companies to effectively build their product or service offering and engage with follow-on investors.

Early stage companies seeking funding typically have already developed a clear product or service with a demonstrated growth opportunity. DuPage Impact services provided to early stage entities are customized based upon these companies’ specific needs.

Read on for more details on funding and services provided to each company type.

Investment Size

For startups, DuPage Impact provides $25,000 of funding and a range of services for a moderate 6 % equity stake in the enterprise.

Investments in early stage companies range up to $100,000 for a negotiated combination equity/loan stake in the enterprise, at times in conjunction with other investors.

Portfolio Company Requirements

Companies must align with one of DuPage Impact’s target market focus areas (see the Portfolio page for details) and commit to developing a Social Impact Plan.

Although we have a preference for DuPage- and western suburb-connected entrepreneurs, any local company with a national or global market application will be considered.

Positive Attributes of Entities We Like to Invest In

  • For profit services or products that have significant positive human, social or environmental impacts consistent with our investment focus.
  • Demonstrated addressable market need and product/service benefits.
  • Business models that can grow rapidly with limited capital investment and use information technology, data analytics or social connections for maximum impact.

Entities We Do Not Invest In

  • Product-only companies without any software technology as an integral part of the offering.
  • Consumer/commercial products that require extensive governmental and regulatory testing.
  • Profit-only companies that donate a percent of earnings to charities.
  • Buy-one-give-one models.
  • Entities involved in intellectual property legal disputes involving key components of their offerings.
  • Pure consulting services involving no unique products or service.

What Does DuPage Impact Provide to Social Entrepreneurs?


For All Portfolio Companies:


  • Shared open office space is offered at Innovation DuPage, a collaborative innovation center hosted by College of DuPage
  • Periodic meeting space & small classroom training spaces available
  • Basic office equipment, e.g., phone access, copier, coffee, wi-fi, etc.
  • Assistance with logistics/space arrangements for mentor and investor events


  • Portfolio company profile & feature stories on DuPage Impact website
  • Access to Innovation DuPage partners’ media connections
  • Assistance with marketing materials to attract investors
  • General support of Innovation DuPage’s marketing, outreach and public relations activities
  • Identification of possible funding sources during and after participation in the DuPage Impact program


For Startups:


  • $25,000

Mentoring, Training & Product Development

  • Access to a Boot Camp lasting up to 16 weeks (3-4 short intensive educational sessions per week); at least one senior manager must participate
  • Each entrepreneur must complete a Social Impact Plan detailing impact goals for the company
  • Assistance with identifying investors & mentors
  • Curriculum program delivery and training
  • Assistance in developing operations/administrative management plans
  • Facilitating access to College of DuPage equipment/labs for prototype building
  • Help identifying partner institution student interns and/or faculty for market research or business planning
  • Connections to basic legal, tax and regulatory reporting resources
  • Collaboration opportunities with other participants of Innovation DuPage:
    • COD Center for Entrepreneurship members
    • Choose DuPage / Rev3 Innovation Center (DuPage County Economic Development) participants
  • Insights & updates on impact investing activities locally, regionally and nationally
  • “Friendly shark tank” style investor event at end of Boot Camp


  • Upon completion of the Boot Camp, collaborative open space is available to startups for an affordable fee


For Early Stage Companies:


  • Up to $100,000
  • Identification of potential fundraising strategies and potential investors
  • Connections to the broader impact investor community (e.g., Benefit Chicago, various angel networks) for side-by-side investments or collaborative investments, both during and post program
  • Opportunity to participate in various investor pitch sessions

Mentoring, Training & Product Development

  • Services listed above are customized based on the company’s specific needs. They may also be combined with those services provided by other co-investors in these entities.
  • Assistance in identifying any potential Investor/Mentor connections
  • Identification of potential fund raising strategy


  • Access to collaborative open space, subject to availability