Back Office Support for Neighborhood Construction

Business Services Collective

 

We're building an affordable, shared back office for neighborhood contractors in Chicagoland. 

What we do 

When you are splitting time between the job site and the home office, paperwork is always on the to-do list. We've spoken with over 100 diverse entrepreneurs in the construction trades who describe spending 10-15 hours per week on back office tasks like bid estimation and bookkeeping.

Our program connects construction entrepreneurs to experienced, local back office professionals. Through a unique blend of coaching, training and direct services, our program enables entrepreneurs to increase capacity for growth by teaching best practices for running your construction business and creating pathways to delegate back office tasks.

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Now I am confidently bidding more work while almost doubling my margin. I feel a relief knowing I can safely cover my costs and finally earn the profit needed to fuel future growth.

How we do it

INITIAL CALL

ONBOARDING

ESTIMATION SUPPORT

ONGOING MENTORSHIP

 

2018: RESEARCH

Began as an initiative of The Dividend Project, an incubator to expand wealth-building opportunities for businesses and communities of color.

Small businesses run the world. If you can be an entrepreneur, you can pull somebody else up

with you. It’s a way of helping others — not just yourself. It’s about growth and opportunities —

for women, for minorities, for entire communities.

Early 2019:

Formed advisory board with leaders across Chicagoland's construction ecosystem

Summer 2019:

Raised $140,000 to support the local construction community and expand our outreach

Business Services' pitch earns 2nd place in the University of Chicago's 2019 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC) 

Business Services Collective joins Elevate Energy, Sustainable Options for Urban Living to provide back office support to entrepreneurs of color in construction and clean energy sectors. 

2020-2021:

Expanding our back office services to support Chicago's diverse construction community.

Helping construction businesses identify and access relief programs in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Name, Title

Our Story 

Summer 2019: Raising Support

Meet Our Board of Directors

Our ProgramTeam

 
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Delmar Gillus, Jr.

Elevate

COO

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Nora Sobolov

The Dividend Project

Founder

 Board Chair

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Deon Lucas

E.G.Woode

President

Mejai Kai Dyson

Chief Estimator

Mejai leads our Estimating Program, helping our construction entrepreneurs improve their ability to cost estimate and bid through one-on-one coaching and training.

Mejai began his decades-long career in commercial construction as a Project Engineer, coordinating and delivering built spaces for private and public clients. As Chief Estimator Mejai has assembled cost estimates for a variety of skilled trades and building types. He has represented all sides of the table from contractors and GCs to owners' rep. Mejai is passionate about continuous improvement, ensuring value and margins for all stakeholders.

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Trina Ntamere

Business Strategist

Trina helps our construction entrepreneurs implement their back office strategies with mentorship and support. She also leads our tech infrastructure.

 

Trina has nearly 15 years of experience in nonprofit service delivery, program administration, financial services, and project management. Her passion for strengthening the systems that support communities led her to launch Lavender Eucalyptus, LLC, a firm that provides strategic business operations support, program and project management, business process modeling, and operational planning and implementation services to community-based enterprises.

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Jason Swan

Business Strategist

Jason engages our program participants to implement their back office strategies and leads our personal and business credit program.

Jason is a Chicago native with nearly 20 years of community banking, lending and economic development experience. Jason has worked for several financial institutions and non-profits with a specific focus on leveraging capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in low to moderate income neighborhoods in Chicago and its surrounding communities.

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Kyle Johnson

Chief Operations Officer

Kyle works with service providers and contractors on a daily basis to build our shared back office.

Raised in the Northwoods of Minnesota, Kyle left a radical puppet theater in Minneapolis to join a microlender in Chicago, where he used grassroots organizing to extend a small business loan program across the city’s diverse neighborhoods. 

 

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Nitika Nautiyal

Chief Strategy & Development Officer

Nitika directs our strategic partnerships to develop a coordinated ecosystem of supports for Chicagoland contractors. 

 

Nitika previously led the nation’s largest network of local, regional, national and international institutions anchored in the Chicagoland, with upwards of $20B in collective spend, driving inclusive economic growth through place-based strategies. 

 

 

Get Involved

contractors

Find out how we can support your growth. Set up an initial call so we can learn more about your business and how we can help.

service providers

Join our network of estimators, bookkeepers and other professionals passionate about supporting local businesses.

community partners

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about developments, construction news, and upcoming events.

volunteers

Have ideas or want to get involved? E-mail us your suggestions and requests!