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When municipalities work together, the regional economy grows. Elk Grove Village, in partnership with Dr. Ray Benedetto, president of GuideStar, Inc, have joined forces with four other Chicagoland northwest municipalities to collaborate and create a growing regional business development ecosystem.

Together, they founded Next Level Northwest, a competitive business accelerator program which provides ongoing development support for existing businesses who are ready for the next level.

Why was it created?

The participating municipalities believe the key to creating a strong business community is to foster collaboration and innovation to strengthen the regional economy. To accelerate business growth among the participating municipalities and sustain the economic prosperity of the region, the goal is to:

  • Provide resources and capabilities that support innovation
  • Connect and foster new relationships within the region and beyond
  • Accelerate business growth
  • Create more jobs
  • Distinguish the region as a world-class business community

Who is involved?

The participating municipalities include:

  • Elk Grove Village
  • Hanover Park
  • Hoffman Estates
  • Rolling Meadows
  • Schaumburg

How does it work?

Next Level Northwest provides two services:

1. Accelerator Program - Applicants will be screened by NLNW staff based on qualifying criteria for an invitation to participate in locally-held pitch night events in the participating communities of Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Rolling Meadows, and Schaumburg. Businesses who make it through the pitch process will engage with a Next Level Northwest coach for a 30-Day Discovery Process period.

Based on the results and comfort level of the two participants, the Discovery Process can be extended into a full 90-Day 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. 

2. Ongoing Development - This phase is designed to increase business flexibility in adapting to rapidly changing external environments. It involves business sustainability best practices and is designed to help leaders develop organizational wisdom to help better deal with change, ignite innovation, and create an efficient culture.

How can I learn more? 

Visit or email Dr. Ray Benedetto at