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Take Your Business to New Heights!




About NextLevel Exchange 

NextLevel Exchange is a 12-month, cohort-based small business development program designed to help business owners build the capacity of their enterprise. The purpose of the Chicagoland program is to support the growth of owner-operated businesses and create economic opportunities in underserved communities.


Program components include:


  • Monthly one-on-one mentorship with an experienced business owner or professional.


  • Educational workshops in core knowledge areas such as marketing, finance, HR, and business strategy.


  • Fireside chats with highly successful entrepreneurs.

Leadership Team


Bruce Taylor

Taylor Investment Partners

Bruce is a managing partner of Taylor Investment Partners and former Chairman and CEO of Cole Taylor Bank. He is currently on the Board of Governors and is treasurer for The Metropolitan Planning Council, serves on the Midwest board of trustees for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, is chairman of 18Doors (formerly known as Interfaith Family, and is on the board of directors for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Bruce earned his B.S. from Babson College in 1977 and his MBA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1979. 



Quandra Speights

Sunshine Enterprises

Quandra is the Business Acceleration Service (BAS) Senior Manager at Sunshine Enterprises. Her role includes BAS services such as the 90-day Coaching program, Next Level Exchange and PERC activities, workshops and events. In addition, she assists the program team with their workshops and events and operations team with providing human resources advice and consulting services. Quandra’s vision for Sunshine Enterprises’ clients is to support and advocate for more black-owned businesses in disadvantaged communities.



Tasha Brown

Director, ScaleUp & Facilitator

Tasha is also an accomplished entrepreneur and brings a level of passion and dedication to her work as a business advisor and the Director of ScaleUp. She brings to the role more than 8 years’ experience working for the City of Chicago, experience working in academia, and working with non-profit organizations. Tasha previously served as the Associate Director of the Illinois SBDC at the WBDC South Suburbs where she conducted one-on-one advising sessions, facilitated trainings, and provided resources to help entrepreneurs start or grow their business. Tasha is devoted to the success of your business and will work hard to help you ScaleUp.



Kevin P. Davenport

Chicago Urban League

Kevin is the Established Business Program Manager for the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center at Chicago Urban League. He is also the founder of The Ideal Candidate, a non profit organization and training academy that focuses on corporate integration, personal development, and etiquette training for ages 16-24 year old.



Laura Lane

Sunshine Enterprises

Laura Lane is the Managing Director of Programs for Sunshine Enterprises, whose mission is to empower high-potential entrepreneurs living in under-resourced neighborhoods to grow their businesses and transform their communities.  Laura’s role at Sunshine includes recruiting and training instructors and coaches who implement the Community Business Academy, Business Acceleration Services and Credit to Capital coaching for entrepreneurs in our six markets – South, West and North sides of Chicago; Construction Trades, Property Management and Arts & Makers cohorts.


Participating Organizations

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Founding Partners


We are an extremely ambitious high-end general contractor headquartered in Chicago. We come from a long line of craftsmen, engineers & designers, starting with our great-grandfather. We are dedicated to unrivaled professionalism, unwavering excellence and exacting & transparent estimating. We bring decades of knowledge & experienced-based homebuilding precision to our clients.


The Jewish-Black Business Alliance (“JBBA”) is composed of business and civic
leaders who come together for the purpose of fostering sustainable business
relationships between the Jewish and Black communities through meetings, commerce,
and travel.

Key Dates 

  • October 8, 2021 - Winter 2022 Applications Open

  • January 28, 2022 - Winter 2022 Applications Close/ Feb applications open

  • May 26, 2022 - Spring 2022 Applications Close/June applications open 

  • September 20, 2022 - Fall 2022 Applications Close/October applications open 

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