Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Selects 11 Companies for Its Premier Mentoring Program

Feb 17, 2011, 12:37 ET from Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The CEC would like to recognize the 11 companies that were selected for the second "CAP 20" class of clients: Balanced IT Solutions, FinanceSeer, Innovative Exams, Intellihot, Mata Traders, Power2Switch, PVPower, Rover Enterprises, School Town, Shift Worldwide and SOL Elixirs LLC.

The CAP 20 group is part of the broader Cluster Acceleration Program (CAP), which fosters the growth of emerging companies by linking them to strategic resources throughout the state. Through educational conferences, networking forums and one-on-one advisory services, CAP unites entrepreneurial ventures and seasoned professionals in five target industries: alternative energy, consumer products and services, and information technology for the new media, financial services and healthcare markets.  The program's goal is to accelerate the overall growth and job creation rates of these industries within Illinois.  CAP is sponsored by a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration with funds awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The CAP program is also sponsored by PNC.

The CAP 20 participants consist of 20 of the most promising ventures in target industries in Illinois. CAP 20 clients are selected through a competitive process which evaluates applicants based on their business model, product and service offerings, outside investment, revenue traction to date, and the management team's relevant industry knowledge and professional experience. CAP 20 companies benefit from customized planning, expert mentoring and unique business exposure opportunities over 24 months.

"The CAP 20 program connects entrepreneurs with the critical resources and mentor relationships they need to be successful," said John Roberson, Executive Vice President of the CEC.

Companies recently selected for CAP 20 program are:

(These companies are located in Chicagoland unless otherwise noted.)

Alternative Energy

  • Intellihot: (Peoria, IL) Intellihot manufactures state-of-the-art tankless water heaters for residential and commercial applications. These water heaters provide endless hot water on demand using 30-40% less energy than conventional water heaters. Visit
  • Power2Switch: Power2Switch is a website that enables commercial electricity customers in Illinois to compare and switch electricity suppliers to save costs or access renewable energy. It's like Expedia for electricity and the company has reduced the process from weeks to minutes. Visit
  • PVPower: PVPower is a virtual distributor of solar components, making solar power simple for those installing it. PVPower helps solar installers increase productivity through their SolarBear web application. SolarBear enables installers to plan, pitch and purchase their solar projects seamlessly by tapping into the PVPower product catalog and automatically generating a highly polished customer-facing proposal. Visit

Consumer Products & Services

  • Mata Traders: Mata Traders is a fair trade women's clothing and accessories company that works directly with women's cooperatives in India and Nepal to produce all of their handmade products. The company has a store in the Andersonville Galleria, and wholesales its products to over 250 boutiques nationwide. Visit
  • Solixir: SOL Elixirs LLC is the creator of the Solixir® brand of botanical beverages. They create great tasting beverages made from all-natural ingredients. Solixir is sold nationwide in Whole Foods Market and The Vitamin Shoppe. Visit

IT – Financial Services

  • Balanced IT Solutions: (Rockford, IL) Balanced IT Solutions provides a platform integrating autonomous compliance management systems across different company departments so that they can track the status of files sent to employees. The software is critical for highly regulated industries such as Aviation. Visit
  • FinanceSeer: FinanceSeer is a web-based software solution for performing long-range strategic planning at the enterprise, divisional and strategic business unit levels. FinanceSeer enables users to rapidly model and test numerous marketplace and strategy scenarios in fewer steps and with more mobility than alternative solutions. Visit

IT – New Media

  • Innovative Exams: Innovative Exams provides testing services through highly secure, remotely proctored testing stations. Their convenient testing stations can be installed in offices, public locations, schools, or partner sites. Testers benefit from the convenience and exam providers benefit from cutting-edge technologies that offer the highest level of security in the testing industry. Visit
  • Rover Enterprises: (Carbondale, IL) Rover Enterprises is a mobile marketing firm that is targeted to university communities. Rover provides solutions connecting small businesses to college students through cutting-edge marketing techniques. Visit
  • School Town: School Town's eLearning and collaboration platform allows districts and teachers to build private learning communities. These communities feature rich digital media for assignments, events, and announcements, providing an engaging, collaborative learning experience. The intuitive interface ensures that all of those resources are accessible within two clicks. Visit
  • Shift Worldwide: Shift Worldwide powers and produces "high stakes" virtual events. By combining production services with its customizable virtual communication platform, they help to bring marketers, executives and trainers to audiences live via multi-point web video. Visit

About the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) works at the intersection of business success and civic engagement. It identifies the region's most promising entrepreneurs and helps them build high-growth, sustainable businesses that serve as platforms for economic development and civic leadership for the Chicagoland area. Since 2003, the CEC has helped our client entrepreneurs secure $242 million in revenue, raise $143 million in financing, and create or retain nearly 6,050 jobs. In turn, CEC clients fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our city by mentoring young talent, advising their peers, and joining the CEC "movement" to inspire entrepreneurship in Chicagoland.  The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center is an affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. To learn more, visit                                                      

Contact: Scott Issen / 312-494-6734 /

SOURCE Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center