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Success Stories

Dynamic Colors

After some 13 years with a paintbrush in his hand, Anthony Giangrossi decided to take a step back. Dynamic Colors, the Evanston-based house painting company he owns and operates, had the potential to grow into something much bigger, but Giangrossi knew he was stretching himself too thin when he was working so much in the field. In 2014, he hired more employees and decided to dedicate himself fully to the growth of his business. Since then, sales have more than doubled, and services and the company’s service area have expanded.

“The company is in the midst of growth and way ahead of my projections,” Giangrossi said. “This all led to my interest in Emerging Leaders to help guide me during this growth period and in the future.”

Giangrossi graduated in October 2017 from the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program, a seven-month executive education series for businesses poised for growth. Alongside 15 other Chicagoland entrepreneurs, Giangrossi attended biweekly classes on topics... Read More

Hands-on training, customized to the client’s unique needs, has made the Illinois SBDC at the Women’s Business Development Center a trusted and frequently-visited resource for Chicago small business owners. In testimonials from businesses as diverse as a tech start-up, a music company, and a home organizer, the value is clear: the SBDC staff members are candid, encouraging coaches well prepared to share their technical skills with entrepreneurs. The SBA has recognized these accomplishments and presented the Illinois SBDC at the Women’s Business Development Center with its 2017 Illinois SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award.


SBDC Director Karen Goldner and Director of Entrepreneurial Programs Meg Herman together provide programming that not only has an economic impact, but also helps clients bring their products to the market and realize their dreams. They listen closely to what small business owners want and need and are flexible when it comes to adjusting their... Read More

Wilbur Milhouse

Milhouse Engineering & Construction of Chicago has a strategy for success: staying small and nimble. President and CEO Wilbur C. Milhouse believes the competition isn’t always agile, but his company’s size and lack of bureaucracy allow it to answer customers’ technical inquiries quickly and effectively. On top of that, the firm strives to be cost-effective and offer innovative solutions. The SBA is recognizing Milhouse’s efforts and success, naming the company its 2017 Illinois 8(a) Graduate of the Year. (Milhouse also won the same award for SBA’s Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.)

A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumnus with more than two decades of diversified civil and structural engineering experience, Wilbur Milhouse founded his namesake small business in 2001. The professional full service engineering and architecture firm has offices in Chicago and seven other locations. Their projects address community... Read More

Fari Maissami

Small business owner Fariborz Maissami saw big potential in manufacturing small items. Denbur Inc., of Westmont, Illinois, makes products for the dental, hobby, beauty, and automotive industries, such as interdental brushes and picks, diagnostic instruments and light enhancing devices, makeup applicators, and more. Uniquely designed dispensers ensure users can access products easily and sanitarily. Throughout the company’s history, strong relationships with clinicians and dental schools have helped Denbur stay ahead of the competition and anticipate their customers’ needs. 

Because of his successful history serving clients both domestically and abroad, the SBA has named Maissami its 2017 Illinois Small Business Exporter of the Year.

Founded in 1979 as a consultant for European dental articulator manufacturers, Denbur began importing products in 1990 and, five years later, manufacturing products of its own. Currently, Denbur employs 30 people full time. As the company... Read More