ASCEND — Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase

The Kellogg School of Management is partnering with JPMorgan Chase to offer Kellogg ASCEND Business Growth, a live virtual (online) management education program held mornings during the weeks of November 15th and 30th, 2020.

We will engage a select cohort of 15-18 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 5+ 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:

  • Provides a live virtual 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
  • Facilitates preparation for market opportunities with organizations such as World Business Chicago, Chicago Urban League and the Minority Supplier Development Council
  • Provides 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 companies 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 5+ employees. Smaller businesses with strong growth potential will also be considered
  • Attend the full ASCEND Business Growth program (online during weeks of Nov. 15 and Nov. 30):
  • Week 1: Sun., Nov. 15 2:00-4:45PM; Mon., Nov. 16 – Thu., Nov. 19 8:45AM-12:15PM

    Week 2: Mon., Nov. 30 – Thu., Dec. 3 8:45AM-12:15PM

Key Benefits

  • Understand key management concepts related to company stability and growth including capital markets, branding, negotiations, leadership, finance, strategies, marketing, crisis management, 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 the pandemic and a changing competitive landscape

Program Content

The curriculum will address principles, models and examples that enhance company success and growth..

Growth Topics

  • Managing strategic change and growth
  • Financing and capital markets
  • Managing through the pandemic
  • 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 your business questions to faculty and industry experts


Gail Berger - Deputy Director - Kellogg Center for Executive Women; Clinical Associate Professor of Executive Education

Derrick Collins - Dean of Business School, Chicago State University

Timothy Feddersen - Wendell Hobbs Professor of Managerial Politics; Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences; Chair of Personnel Committee

Paul Hirsch - James L. Allen Professor of Strategy & Organizations Professor of Management & Organizations

Sanjay Khosla - Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Marketing

James Lowry - Sr. Advisor, Boston Consulting Group and CEO, James H. Lowry & Assoc.

Joseph Patton - Executive & Career Coach; Assoc. Director, Career Advising & Education at Kellogg

Kelly Richmond Pope - Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University; filmmaker

Michele Rogers - Clinical Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Executive Education and Director of Chicago Partnerships

Albert Sharp - Managing Director, Muller & Monroe

Leigh Thompson - J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations Professor of Management & Organizations

Ivy Walker - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Helios Digital Learning

Gregory White - CEO, LEARN Charter School

Fees & Accommodations


Each participant submits a $150 registration fee for this program held over 9 half days. (JPMorgan Chase sponsorship allows this special steeply discounted fee.)

Location & Accommodations:

During the pandemic, the Kellogg Ascend Program will be conducted live virtually on the Zoom platform.

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 November 10.

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.

Upcoming Session

Nov. 15 - Dec. 3, 2020

Start: November 15 at 2:00 PM

End: December 3 at 12:15 PM

Live Virtual Program


Please complete an application if you are a minority, or other owner, with a significant number/percentage of employees from under-resourced, lower income areas of Chicago, and your revenues are $500,000+ or you have 5+ employees.

Kellogg School of Management

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