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Business

West Suburban Chamber launching new business guidance program

West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Executive Director Ken Grunke introduces the chamber's new business guidance resource, CommPass, during an Oct. 7 event at the Theatre of Western Springs.
West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Executive Director Ken Grunke introduces the chamber's new business guidance resource, CommPass, during an Oct. 7 event at the Theatre of Western Springs.

WESTERN SPRINGS – The West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has unveiled a new business mentoring resource called CommPass.

Chamber Executive Director Ken Grunke introduced the program to local business leaders and chamber members at a launch event Oct. 7 at the Theatre of Western Springs.

Grunke gave a general overview of the philosophy of the program, which will be gradually rolled out over the coming months.

He said the program will provide guidance for business professionals based on different stages of their businesses:

• Stage 0: Internship

• Stage 1: Start up

• Stage 2: Survival

• Stage 3: Growth

• Stage 4: Expansion

• Stage 5: Maturity.

Grunke said several organizations are already having separate discussions on how to help business owners in the community.

"As a bridge, as a convener, we can start pulling these partners together, who are pretty much having a very similar conversation," he said.

With the program, the chamber could match a new or prospective business owner with a more experienced mentor or facilitate group meetings for business owners at a similar stage to share ideas.

Grunke said with CommPass, the chamber can be the trusted source for businesses looking for these resources.

"There are so many resources out there, and time is money," he said. "As a small business, you need to find the right resources at the right time that's going to fit for you."

One program that already has started is the Breakthrough Challenge, a 12-month program sponsored by the First National Bank of La Grange meant to help small businesses transition from the start-up phase to growth.

Participants in the program are working with coaches and successful business professionals to come up with a growth plan.

Grunke said he could not reveal what future CommPass programs would be, but the chamber will make announcements on its website, www.wscci.org, and will have an interactive CommPass web page by January.

Those interested in the program can email questions to info@wscci.org or participate in a conference call at 8 a.m. or 2 p.m. Oct. 29.

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