Kellogg ASCEND Business Growth Program

Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase

The Kellogg School of Management is partnering with JPMorgan Chase to offer Kellogg ASCEND Business Growth, a four-day residential management education program on January 26-30, 2020 focused on entrepreneurial growth.

We will engage a select cohort of 17-20 minority-owned and other businesses that hire a significant percentage of employees from Chicago's under-resourced neighborhoods. We seek firms with revenues of $500,000+ or 10+ employees, although smaller companies with high growth potential are considered.

This partnership between Kellogg and JPMorgan Chase aligns management education, market access and capital access to grow businesses and jobs in low and moderate income (LMI) communities in Chicagoland, and develops a network that links business schools, market access organizations, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) and Chase small business banking. The program facilitates growth of businesses and is especially focused on the south and west sides of Chicago. ASCEND will

  • Provide a four-day executive management education program for primarily minority-owned businesses to enhance growth potential and increase hiring in under-resourced LMI neighborhoods in the Chicago area. Kellogg MBA students serve as resources for owners and help them learn more about issues in under-served communities, better preparing them to address these critical matters throughout their careers
  • Facilitate preparation for access to market opportunities with organizations such as CASE, Chicago Urban League and the Minority Supplier Development Council
  • Provide direct access to CDFIs, Chase and other funding opportunities

The partnership with JHLA links the Kellogg School with diverse business and nonprofit communities; helps businesses scale, retain and create jobs; stimulates innovative economic development; and expands student knowledge about how to address issues in LMI communities.

This collaboration — Kellogg, JHLA, CDFIs, JPMChase and major enterprise will enhance economic development by increasing employment, which decreases violence and related societal ills in the targeted neighborhoods. Primary targets include communities such as Austin, Bronzeville, Englewood, Humboldt Park, South Lawndale, Washington Park and Woodlawn.

Who Should Attend

Kellogg ASCEND seeks to partner with minority business owners and others based in and/or hire from underserved areas that are interested in growth through management education, access to potential funders and access to potential new business. The ideal firms must meet the requirements listed below.

  • Hire a significant percentage of employees from lower income areas of Chicago, especially the South and West Sides
  • Earn $500,000+ in revenue or have 10+ employees. Smaller businesses with strong growth potential will also be considered
  • Attend the full residential Kellogg ASCEND Business Growth program in Evanston: Sunday, 4:30 PM to Thursday, 1:00 PM

Key Benefits

  • Understand key management concepts related to company growth including capital markets, branding, leadership, finance, strategies, marketing and others
  • Learn to think strategically about your facility and identify important concepts you can apply to build the organization, increase stability and enhance growth
  • Build a network of peers and mentors to support continued professional growth and development
  • Acquire new knowledge and skills for strengthening your organization’s capacity to meet the challenges of a changing competitive landscape

Program Content

The curriculum will address business principles and examples that enhance successful company growth.

Growth Topics

  • Managing strategic change and growth
  • Financing and capital markets
  • Defending the brand
  • Business plan development
  • Negotiation
  • Team building
  • Acquisition
  • Entrepreneurial finance
  • Hiring the best fit

Practical Application

  • Apply learnings from the program to your business
  • Discuss applications of the learning in small peer group sessions
  • Address business issues your questions to faculty and industry experts


Gail Berger

Derrick Collins

Tim Fedderson

Paul Hirsch

James Lowry

Joseph Patton

Kelly Richmond Pope

Michele Rogers

Albert Sharp

Leigh Thompson

Ivy Walker

Gregory White

Craig Wortmann

Fees & Accommodations


Each participant submits a $500 registration fee for this 4-day program. (JPMorgan Chase sponsorship allows this special steeply discounted fee.)

Location & Accommodations:

The Kellogg Ascend Program is held at the James L. Allen Center on Northwestern University's Evanston Campus.

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208

Accommodations are at the James L. Allen Center, and are included with registration.

Application Deadline

Applications are considered on a first-come first-served basis, so early registration is suggested; however the deadline for fee payment is 10:00 AM on January 21.

Cancellation Policy:

Participants must notify the Program Manager three business days in advance of the program start if they are unable to attend. Otherwise, participants forfeit the program fee.

Contact Us

Please email or call Michele Rogers to learn more about ASCEND Business Growth program at Kellogg.

Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208