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Getting a good web designer is not an easy feat and Launch 35 President, Fernando Velasquez started his company because he had a bad experience with a web designer. He spent thousands of dollars on a website that never went live, which is what motivated him to start his own company. He already had experience in IT and marketing, so he knew that he wanted to start his own business and decided to reach out to IHCC.

Launch35 is a website development company that specializes in strategy, content, graphic design, Google Workspace integration, and optimization for companies. Velasquez has many years of experience working with entrepreneurs in various industries and started his business in 2019 in his hometown, Los Angeles, California. He moved to Chicago a few years ago and has been a Procurement Technical Assistance Client (PTAC) client since 2020.

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At IHCC, we have a variety of programs, so there’s not one size fits all, and most of the small businesses that we work with, work with a variety of programs offered at IHCC. Initially, Velasquez met our former Marketing Director, Janet Dominguez, and she was able to help him articulate his business pitch and he learned how to simplify his content clearer. “I wasn’t very good at articulating my message and she helped me simplify my content strategy, and now I’m able to articulate more clearly, she helped me hone in on the value that I’m bringing into each client,” he says. 

Many times, small businesses struggle with the paperwork, and that’s where they get stuck or delay processes. He reached out to the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) because he had questions about the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification process. Angie Alonso-Cone, Director of PTAC, and Oscar Gutierrez, PTAC Project Coordinator helped him navigate the process and paperwork for the Doing Business As (DBA) form he filled out after moving from California to Chicago, as well as assistance to submit his MBE certification in North Carolina.

During their first meeting, they explained to the client the importance of the capability statement and offered him some advice on how to create it. They provided him with a few samples so he could start working on this right away. They also explained to him the recognition process for the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) certification with the State of Illinois and helped him start the process. “They helped me prepare paperwork, a lot of times, it’s mostly about staying organized and staying on top of it, it’s tedious but it’s worth it,” he says. They helped him create a BidMatch profile after reviewing and approving his capability statement. Over the next few months, he received daily bidding opportunities from different states. Velasquez explains that all the information, resources, and tools IHCC provided him have been extremely helpful and have allowed his company to grow and accomplish its goals. One of these goals was to win a government contract.

After a few months and a long process, Velasquez finally received his City of Chicago MBE certification, as well as the North Carolina HUB Certification. The client’s BEP Certification was also approved through the recognition process from the City. Launch35 was awarded a few contracts from the North Carolina Dept of Administration – Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) totaling $10,000. These contracts were awarded from July 2021 through April 2022. This is just one example of the technical assistance that IHCC offers, many business owners don’t realize the complexity of these processes, and our experienced advisors can help assist in these difficult processes that often result in contracts they never imagined they could attain.

To learn more about Launch 35, visit

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