Media Releases

North Central hosts Project CEO to help women grow great companies

Aug 23, 2017

Some 38 percent of businesses in the United States are owned by women. Many of those women owners, however, struggle with growing their businesses.

Entrepreneur Martha Carney and executive director of ConVerge--the branded name for North Central College’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship--says women struggle because gender stereotypes of entrepreneurs still exist. “They continue to create roadblocks for women and, in some cases, lead to a business skills gap,” Carney says.

In an effort to empower women, this fall ConVerge will host Project CEO, a series of workshops to enable women to scale up their businesses of all kinds, from manufacturing to IT and more.

Carney says Project CEO is unique because each workshop is limited to 10 women, so it’s very hands-on and practical. “It’s offered within an environment where women experience what they’re learning, make connections, and receive mentoring and ongoing support.”

Four Friday morning workshops will focus on both soft and hard skills, delivered in a small group format where women can learn techniques to help them prosper. Topics for the workshops were identified as areas of need by women already in business.

The workshops are:

  • Become a Profit Master: Sept. 15
  • Implement Process Improvement: Sept. 29
  • Learn How To Sell: Oct. 13
  • Build Confidence in Contract Negotiations: Oct. 27

Each workshop will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon on the campus of North Central College at the Edward Everett Rall House, 329 S. Brainard St. Cost for all four workshops is $329 and $99 for each session; to register visit Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce members can receive a 20 percent discount by visiting North Central College students can register for Project CEO and other programs offered through ConVerge at no cost.

Leah Packett, founder and president of Compuwerx International Inc., participated in an earlier Project CEO series. “It’s a program for serious entrepreneurs interested in learning how to grow successful businesses,” Packett said. “Project CEO has completely changed the way I look at my company and helped me grow the business. It gave me the tools to take action and optimize my business structure. It helped me refine my operation process, management style and take the bigger picture into account.”

The Naperville-based business accelerator ConVerge was created to address skills gaps for entrepreneurs and provide a place where ideas can flourish and entrepreneurs thrive. “A business accelerator on campus also gives North Central College students one more way to round out their education by becoming immersed in the entrepreneurial mindset as they transition into the workforce,” says Carney.

The Project CEO workshop series is one of many programs at ConVerge and is sponsored by Itasca Bank & Trust Co. Women’s Initiative. To learn more about ConVerge and its resources for entrepreneurs visit or call 630-637-5121.

About ConVerge

ConVerge is a business accelerator, based in Naperville and a North Central College program. ConVerge provides many resources to help people succeed when preparing for, launching and growing a business. Those resources include a series of startup workshops that follow the normal lifecycle of a business, a downtown Naperville coworking space, industry-specific mentors, involvement in business roundtable discussions, access to North Central College students for internships, direction to various sources of capital and connections of all types.

About North Central College

Founded in 1861, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and six graduate program areas. With more than 2,900 students, North Central provides a rigorous, student-centered education and fosters a diverse, inclusive and globally engaged community that prepares students for action and leadership in a complex world. Just 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop, the campus is located in Naperville, Ill.—rated by Money magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live” and by Chicagoans as the most desirable town to live. Visit and learn what it means to “Be Central.”