Small Business Growth Initiative

In the News!

Adam and Nydia, owners of Drip and Culture in Waukegan, the business selected to participate in LCCF’s SBGI pilot program.

The Small Business Growth Initiative (SBGI) is designed to collaboratively support small businesses owned by people of color in priority communities within Lake County through the infusion of financial, relational and human capital. We take a data-driven and individualized approach to working alongside small business owners to help them meet their specific growth goals while enriching the surrounding economic landscape.

The Lake County Community Foundation (LCCF) is working with partners to build this comprehensive program that will ultimately result in a network of support for small businesses owned by people of color. Businesses selected to participate in the program will receive a grant from LCCF to support a project that will strategically grow and strengthen the business. The College of Lake County’s Small Business Development & International Trade Center will provide technical assistance to the business based on results of a needs assessment and will pair the business owners with subject matter experts to address specific areas of growth. The goal is to have a collaborative space for peer-to-peer support and mentorship between small business owners in Lake County.

Partners: (Pilot Partner) Drip & Culture, Waukegan; Allies for Community Business; College of Lake County’s Small Business Development & International Trade Center; Lake County Partners

$50,000 grant approved in Summer 2021

Timeline: 1 Year (August 2021 Launch)

Donate to SBGI

Mission, Vision & Goals

Mission: The Small Business Growth Initiative (SBGI) is designed to advance community-based economic development and social impact through wraparound support of small businesses owned by people of color, particularly women, queer and trans people of color in Lake County. This initiative is informed by a team of grassroots leaders from communities that have been historically excluded from investment across Lake County.

Vision: We envision a thriving and equitable small business community in Lake County where the voices of business owners of color are prioritized and provided access to high quality tools, technical assistance and financial and social capital to help grow and strengthen their business.


  • Equity
  • Transparency
  • Community
  • Thought Partnership


  • Foster a more equitable environment for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
  • Provide collaborative space and support peer learning networks for small business owners.
  • Identify, prioritize, support and increase visibility of businesses owned by people of color in Lake County
  • Encourage participant businesses’ viability and sustainability by taking an individualized approach to mentorship, technical assistance and financial support.
  • Create pipelines of entrepreneurship in communities of color.

For more information, please reach out to our Manager of Community Impact, Courtney Combs, at

Thank You to Our Supporters