Success Stories

WBDC highlights some of its amazing clients’ success stories.

 

  • Maricela Del Toro
    Director, Customer Service, MAO Concrete
    • Maricela Del Toro

      Director, Customer Service, MAO Concrete

      “The ScaleUp program has provided us with ideas, tools and information that will help us grow and make our company more professional.”

      Maricela Del Toro is the Director of Customer Service at MAO Concrete.  They specialize in residential and commercial concrete work.  Mao Concrete was founded in 2007 and during the past years they have been learning based on a trial-and-error approach, - “some administrative mistakes, [guided] by ignorance, caused us money”.  Their plan is to expand the company to generate more work, hire more people and reduce their cost of materials.

      Prior to joining ScaleUp Aurora, Maricela listed developing a strategic plan to grow their business, gaining access to networking opportunities with economic development organizations, resource partners, financial institutions, as the needs that led her to apply to ScaleUp.  She listed Accounting as their biggest challenge.

      Currently, Maricela is working with one of our advisors, one-on-one counseling, to develop her new website, set up the business Facebook page, and register her business with Google My Business.  Her short term goal is to use all of these free online tools to develop a new marketing campaign to reach more customers.  She also enlisted the help of another Scaler to help her create a new logo and marketing materials.


  • Caprice O’Bryant-Gutierrez
    Owner, Excuse Free Fitness
    • Caprice O’Bryant-Gutierrez

      Owner, Excuse Free Fitness

      Caprice O’Bryant-Gutierrez survived two car accidents (one that could have left her unable to walk) when she was 14 and 17. As she was recovering from her second accident, she discovered her passion for fitness and became a certified personal trainer at 20 years old. By 22, she had opened her own gym. The WBDC visited her facility to discuss marketing ideas and how to grow her business and Caprice has continued to use WBDC resources. Learn more about her story at http://excusefreefitness.com/.


  • Marcia Boyd
    Owner, Financial Aid 4 Success, LLC.
    • Marcia Boyd

      Owner, Financial Aid 4 Success, LLC.

      “Being a small business owner is like being a first-time parent: no matter how many classes you take, you will never be prepared.” This is what Marcia Boyd has learned from starting her business, Financial Aid 4 Success, LLC. Although you can never be completely prepared, Ms. Boyd credits the Women’s Business Development Center and the Plan for Profit course with getting her on her way. “There is no way I would have been able to know how to conduct market research, choose a business structure, and develop an elevator pitch or a business plan without WBDC!”

      Ms. Boyd worked in education for 25 years. After decades of being asked advice and conducting workshops free of charge, she decided to become a consultant and get paid for her knowledge. She turned to the Plan for Profit course to give her a foundation in her new venture.

      The target market for Financial Aid 4 Success is first-generation, mid-to-low income families. In order to provide educational consulting services to families and schools at discount and pro-bono rates, Ms. Boyd started a vending machine business as well. The vending machines provide a steady stream of income, which she uses to supplement her passion as an educational consultant.

      Financial Aid 4 Success, LLC is now incorporated and licensed with the City of Chicago, thanks to guidance from Meg Herman at the SBDC@WBDC. Ms. Boyd is also working on getting her Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise certifications. She loves encouraging others to become entrepreneurs. “FA4S has become my fade into the sunset plan!” she says.


  • Jeanette Chavarria-Torres
    President, DCH Construction & Hauling
    • Jeanette Chavarria-Torres

      President, DCH Construction & Hauling

      “ScaleUp has really prepared me to move my business to the next level”

      Jeanette Chavarria-Torres is the president of DCH Construction & Hauling. They are a DBE, MBE, and WBE certified trucking firm.  DCH serves the Chicagoland area with three company-owned trucks and 20 owner operators.  Their slogan is “We are earning your business one truck at a time”. Prior to joining ScaleUp Aurora, Jeanette listed gaining access to funding and funding sources, gaining access to networking opportunities with economic development organizations, resource partners, financial institutions, as the business needs that let her to apply to ScaleUp.  Now, thanks to ScaleUp and WBDC she was able to “make connections with prime contractors”. ScaleUp has helped Jeanette “take a better look at her business and has really prepared her to move her business to the next level”.


  • Lashonda Crockettis
    Founder, Pennies Tea
    • Lashonda Crockettis

      Founder, Pennies Tea

      Lashonda Crockett is an educator, health professional with a Master’s Degree in Health. She is an entrepreneur who doesn’t mind sharing the secrets of better health and vitality. Her message of tasty tea overflowing with health benefits has been well received by her audience that spans across the country. Her first tea was Instant Colonic Detox Tea which rid her of her own ailment of IBS. This tea was also created to assist with weight lost, repairing of colon, and to feel great.

      Crockett has been in business for 2 ½ years and have many great accomplishments. Her company has successfully landed shelf placement at Whole Food Markets and a second meeting with Walmart and other major companies in the pipeline. She was one of the top three that won the pitchCraft competition at the Chicago Urban League and was a finalist at the pitch60 competition at the Chicago Urban League. Pennie’s Tea social impact is to help women of domestic violence, find their strength, passion and healing one sip at a time. Her message is in her tea. It encourages people to explore and embrace a delicious holistic approach to health, wellness, healing, and repairing from the inside out.

      Crockett stated, “The Chicago Urban League has been phenomenal in my business ventures. They have helped me refine my pitch and have put me in positions to land corporate deals. They have outstanding programs available for new business owners as well as established. I will always be a part of the Chicago Urban League.”


  • Yolanda Dunn
    Owner & President, Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc
    • Yolanda Dunn

      Owner & President, Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc

      ScaleUp graduate, Yolanda Dunn, owner and president Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc. After a year of hearing her husband frustrations about his employer, Yolanda decided to take action and a few months later, they started their own company, which provides services for residential and commercial clients in the Western suburbs of Chicago. Aside from working her full time job at a bank and opening up her business, Yolanda was also pursuing a master’s degree in business at the time. Over ten years later, the company continues to grow and Yolanda plans to open an office in downtown Aurora next year. She is also in the process of completing her WBE certification application.

  • Rebecca Fyffe
    President, ABC Humane Wildlife
    • Rebecca Fyffe

      President, ABC Humane Wildlife

      In the past four years that Rebecca has been President of ABC Humane Wildlife, she has driven the company to grow its finances, market share, employment, project reach and socially-conscious initiatives. By the end of 2009, after only one year of Rebecca’s leadership, ABC Humane Wildlife reached a company milestone of a revenue level of $2 million and continued its financial growth. The following three years ABC doubled its rate of growth with total revenues of $2.7 million, 35% greater than it was at the end of 2010. Since the end of 2010 ABC Humane Wildlife has grown from 22 to 30 employees, and serviced nearly 6,000 calls in 2013.

      Rebecca has also expanded the philanthropic section of her company to a non-profit called the Wildlife Control Policy Institute, NFP. The institute is a public health outreach initiative which trains municipalities on how to create research-based policies on wildlife. A significant element of the institute’s work became informing local police and emergency services about safe and effective procedures for removing bats and dealing with a possible exposure to rabies. Rebecca personally educates and trains officers, phone dispatchers and departments. Rebecca also acts as the president of the Illinois Mycological Association, a scientific and educational non-profit. The organization’s goals are to educate the public on various mushrooms and fungi found in the Illinois area.

      Even with the three organizations that Rebecca runs, she is still committed to supporting the Women’s Business Development Center. Rebecca is a consistent advocate for the WBDC through her actions of referring clients to the organization, speaking at events and offering her own skills up to other clients. Rebecca also takes the initiative to certify both ABC Humane Wildlife and Chicago Wildlife Management Consulting, INC as Women Business Enterprises (WBEs).

      Rebecca is truly an inspiration to all small business owners looking to grow and expand her business. She made a name for herself growing a stagnant company into three booming organizations which serve the safety of the public. Rebecca enjoys being in the animal control business, creating jobs, supplying valuable products and services, and educating others on how they can make difference


  • Eugenia Gooch
    • Eugenia Gooch



      Eugenia is a small business who came to WBC to determine the feasibility of her business. She was selling her jewelry at a farmers market. After working with the WBC Aurora and going through the Plan for Profit program, she won third place at the annual business plan competition hosted by the WBC Aurora and Invest Aurora. She has increased her sales since then to $8K.

      “The WBC helped me go from a summer market girl to a business. I implemented what Terrie taught me and it turned into gold. I’ve gone from making  $150 at an event to $600-$700. The WBC is my touchstone and I come back for more ideas. It has been phenomenal for me.”


  • Rachel Gregersen
    Founder, Beyond Shades
    • Rachel Gregersen

      Founder, Beyond Shades

      ScaleUp graduate, Rachel Gregersen, has 25 years of experience in the window treatments industry, and in 2014, she founded her own company, Beyond Shades . After four years as a successful shop-at-home business, she has just opened her first retail location in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. “After years working for others, I felt I was up to the challenge of owning my own business. Starting completely on one’s own is a difficult task, but I had much experience to draw on. I also had a vision of how we could take the customer service shopping experience to the next level. I needed the freedom of my own business to bring these ideas alive.”

  • Pamela Jones
    Owner, International House of Sauces & Seasonings, (IHSS) Inc
    • Pamela Jones

      Owner, International House of Sauces & Seasonings, (IHSS) Inc

      WBDC client, Pamela Jones, has seen much success for her company of International House of Sauces & Seasonings, (IHSS) Inc., DBA Charboy’s. She became involved with WBDC as a result of seeking business resources to grow her company. “WBDC provided me with various business opportunities such as: awarding me the Vetrepreneur of the Year in 2016, providing a business connection to Whole Foods that now carries Charboy’s products at some of their Chicago locations and by inviting me as a guest speaker at various business events. The WBDC provided business to business connections that have led to significant resources that contributed to the growth of the company.”



  • Kaney O’Neill
    Owner, ONeill Contractors
    • Kaney O’Neill

      Owner, ONeill Contractors

      After facing a debilitating injury while serving in the Navy, Kaney O’Neill redefined her purpose in life. Following graduation from Northwestern University with a masters, O’Neill struggled to secure work. When jobs did not materialize, she decided to follow in the footsteps of several generates of her family and build the business of her dreams, ONeill Contractors, Inc.

      ONeill Contractors, Inc. provides commercial services in roofing, roof waterproofing, carpentry, insulation and sustainable roofing solutions for government and large commercial firms.  O’Neill has completed multi-million dollar construction projects with companies including Boeing, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

      A successful woman business owner in a male-dominated industry, O’Neill has become a nationwide role model. In a segment of WBDC inspired Women with Advisor TV, O’Neill explains “identify a goal and go for it. You have to constantly come up with goals. Having a strategic plan was very important.” In 2014, ONeill received the 28th Annual Woman Veteran entrepreneur of the Year award. “Take risks and don’t be afraid of challenges. There’s a lot of challenges out there. There’s a lot of ways around it. There’s a lot of resources.” said O’Neill. Her goal is to grow her business to $5 million in yearly revenues in the next 3 years.


  • Raiye Rosado
    Owner, Rabid Brewing
    • Raiye Rosado

      Owner, Rabid Brewing

      Today we’d like to feature one of our clients, Raiye Rosado, as a business owner that has shown persistence as she worked to launch her business. Raiye wanted to open a business but wasn’t sure what it would be until her husband started home brewing – she had a sip of one of his new beers and was inspired to open a brewery. Rabid Brewery is the first brewery in Homewood and there were many hurdles to overcome. First, there was no precedent for that kind of business in Homewood and it took two years for Raiye and her husband to find a location. When they found a location and were almost done building out the facility, their landlord went bankrupt. They were nearly out of money and couldn’t open – the lights literally went out – so she decided to start selling at farmer’s markets and made enough to finish the project. Eventually, Raiye ended up becoming a general contractor with the city in order to complete construction and the couple opened the brewery on October 13th, 2017. The WBDC is proud to have worked with Raiye since the beginning of this process.

      "Being able to bounce concepts, plans and strategies against an experienced and competent trusted advisor was absolutely an important factor for us. Having an advocate embedded in the community and willing to promote and advocate on our behalf was another vital piece. And, frankly, your very regular, sincere and personal encouragement during some of the darker times in the process really helped us to press onward to achieve the end goal, the open business. I would want to impress upon the audience that your organization has immense value and impact for anyone looking to start a small business, whether they are new to the business world or are more experienced."


  • Julie Savitt
    President, AMS Elite Solutions, Inc.
    • Julie Savitt

      President, AMS Elite Solutions, Inc.

      Julie Savitt is the President of AMS Elite Solutions, Inc. in Lake Villa, Illinois. The company was awarded “Top 10 Green Business” in 2011 by the Green Business League. Julie’s places a huge emphasis on company culture and she works hard to ensure her employees feel valued as leaders in the company. She credits her WBE certification for inspiring her to continue her commitment to owning a business. The WBDC continues to help her make connections in the industry that help her business. Aside from growing her own business, Julie Savitt is tremendously dedicated to give back to the small business community. She strives to help promote women businesses and loves to take on mentorship opportunities.