News & Blog

Updates & Events: April 2019

// UPDATES & REMINDERS + GOOD TO KNOW:

National Small Business Week – May 5-11, 2019
For more than 50 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. Learn more: https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week

We’re hosting 10+ events to celebrate National Small Business Week – see events below and online at http://www.cusbdc.org/events/.

How to Write a Business Plan
A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, start and grow your new business. Learn how to write a business plan quickly and efficiently with a business plan template via the SBA: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan.

Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP)
The Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) is a federally mandated program to assist small businesses with their environmental requirements. SBEAP is a free, confidential, and non-regulatory resource for small business owners to help them understand and comply with state and federal air pollution regulations. They offer a range of services to assist small businesses, including training seminars and workshops, current permit forms and instructions, links to various Illinois state agency environmental regulations, a quarterly newsletter with regular updates and information on pending and recently amended rulemakings, fact sheets, brochures and guides related to a wide range of small businesses, and links to a directory of environmental consultants. The SBEAP program is located within the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. Need assistance? Visit https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/smallbizassistance/environmentalassistanceprogram/pages/default.aspx, call 800-252-3998, or email DCEO.SBEAP@Illinois.gov.

SBA Office of Advocacy – Small Business Outreach Request on Trade Agreements with Japan, European Union, United Kingdom
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is interested in receiving feedback from small businesses and their representatives regarding their views on trade agreements being negotiated with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom, and their experience doing business in these markets. The Office of Advocacy is tasked with producing a report to Congress evaluating the economic impacts of these trade agreements in negotiations regarding small businesses, particularly in the services, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors, as well as highlighting small business priorities, opportunities, and challenges. Advocacy is conducting outreach to small businesses across the U.S. to better understand important small business concerns regarding trade with these markets and how trade agreements would benefit small businesses. Your feedback will greatly assist the Office of Advocacy in communicating to Congress how the trade agreements being negotiated will affect your business, and ways it can better serve your interests. Small businesses do not need experience in all three markets to participate and can provide feedback on a particular market. For more information on how you can provide your feedback to the Office of Advocacy, please email your name, company, industry and business size (number of employees) to AdvoTradeFeedback@sba.gov.

// YOU ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FOLLOWING SBDC EVENTS:

 SBDC Workshop: Getting Creative with Your Mobile Phone
Presented By: Clanin Marketing
Your phone can help you create and deliver great ads and content on social media. In this workshop, we will review creative solutions and apps to create thumb-stopping content through your mobile device without breaking the bank. Some experience with social media advertising is useful but not required.
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 12 – 1:30 PM
Location: Lodgic Everyday Community – 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. Materials will be provided. RSVP at cusbdc.org, by emailing info@cusbdc.org, or calling 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-workshop-getting-creative-mobile-phone/

SBDC Workshop: Starting Your Business in Illinois
Presented By: Don Elmore, Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC
Thinking about starting a business in Illinois? This informative workshop helps entrepreneurs understand many of the steps and requirements. You’ll be taken step-by-step through a variety of topics and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 3 – 5 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. Materials will be provided. RSVP at cusbdc.org, by emailing info@cusbdc.org, or calling 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-workshop-starting-business-illinois-2/2019-04-11/
*This workshop is offered on a monthly basis. Visit our Events Calendar (http://www.cusbdc.org/events/) to see all upcoming dates and times.

SBDC Workshop: Introduction to QuickBooks (Desktop 2019)
Gain a better understanding of QuickBooks accounting software for your own business or your employer’s company with this class, which is geared towards those who are new to or just starting out with QuickBooks. The session will focus on:

  • Setting Up a Company File – create, open, modify, and update
  • Getting Around in QuickBooks – basic concepts, forms, lists, items, journal entry, etc.
  • Chart of Accounts – account names and numbers, types of accounts, working with registers, etc.
  • Working with Items – types of items, creating new items, using inventory items, etc.
  • Working with Customers – customer center
  • Selling – sales forms, invoices, statement charges, billing statements, etc.
  • Receiving Payments – sales receipts, recording deposits, etc.
  • Working with Vendors – vendor center, creating new vendors, etc.
  • Entering Bills – enter an item bill, creating a purchase order, etc.
  • Paying Bills – how to pay bills, writing a check, etc.
  • Banking – opening and entering payments, entering credit card charges, etc.
  • Analyzing Financial Statements – create and customize P&L reports, balance sheets, and cash flow statements
  • Setting Up Sales Tax – add sales tax, group single sales tax, etc.

This is designed for users who have less than six months of experience working with QuickBooks Desktop Version. We will also cover the accounting basics that serve as a foundation to operate the software correctly. You are encouraged to bring your computer with you (wifi is available). This class does not cover the cloud/online version of QuickBooks. Attendees will receive a special discount offer from QuickBooks. The session will be led by Mariel Huasanga, a certified QuickBooks instructor.
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Time: 9 AM – 1 PM
Location: EDC of Decatur & Macon County – 101 S. Main Street, Suite 600, Decatur, IL 62523
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. Lunch and materials will be provided. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, call 217-378-8535, or email info@cusbdc.org.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-workshop-introduction-quickbooks-desktop-2019-session-1-2/

PTAC Services at CUSBDC
Keli Krueger-Huhra, Director of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Bradley University
Need expert assistance with government contracting? We can help. Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) are resources for small businesses looking to enter the world of government contracting. The centers provide one-on-one counseling, technical information, marketing assistance and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies.
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Time: 10 AM – 4 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Small businesses in our area who need expert assistance with government contracting may schedule appointments with Keli Krueger-Huhra, Illinois PTAC Director at Bradley University, by contacting us at ptac@cusbdc.org or calling 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/ptac-services-cusbdc/2019-04-17/
*PTAC services are offered on a monthly basis. Visit our Events Calendar (http://www.cusbdc.org/events/) to see all upcoming dates and times.
**To learn more about and/or better understand PTAC services, watch this video: https://youtu.be/_mX88Sr18x8.

SBDC Office Hours at Champaign Public Library (Launch)
SBDC Director Don Elmore hosts open office hours (9:30 AM – 12 PM) at Launch twice per month. Launch at the Library business services include a walk-in coworking space, seminars, meeting rooms, and resources to help start, manage, and grow your business. Visit champaign.org/launch for more information.
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2019
Time: 9:30 AM – 12 PM
Location: Champaign Public Library – 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-office-hours-champaign-public-library-2/2019-04-18/

SBDC Office Hours at Champaign Public Library (Launch)
SBDC Director Don Elmore hosts open office hours (9:30 AM – 12 PM) at Launch twice per month. Launch at the Library business services include a walk-in coworking space, seminars, meeting rooms, and resources to help start, manage, and grow your business. Visit champaign.org/launch for more information.
Date: Thursday, May 2, 2019
Time: 9:30 AM – 12 PM
Location: Champaign Public Library – 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-office-hours-champaign-public-library-2/2019-05-02/

Young Entrepreneur Program Pitch Competition
If you like Shark Tank, you won’t want to miss this! Launch at the Library is excited to announce the first ever Young Entrepreneur Program Pitch Competition for high school students (13-18) and young adults (19-25). Watch local teens and young adults pitch their business ideas to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists for a chance to win up to $5,000 in seed money for their new venture.
Date: Sunday, May 5, 2019
Time: 2 – 5 PM
Location: Champaign Public Library (Robeson Pavilion Room A & B) – 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Link: https://champaign.org/event/young-entrepreneur-program-pitch-competition-1785386
*The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is proud to sponsor this pitch competition.

 SBDC + TLC Workshop: Boost Your Marketing for the 2019 Farmers’ Market Season
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
Your application was approved to participate in the 2019 farmers’ market season. You’re excited and ready for opening day…except…you’re not quite prepared when it comes to social media. You know social media is an important component, but it’s hard to focus on all the things vendors need to know/do PLUS start and grow your social media presence. Natalie Kenny Marquez of Grow Marketing + Communications, LLC (and current Board President of the Illinois Farmers Market Association) will share easy steps to boost your marketing and get prepared for the 2019 season. A Q&A session will follow.
Date: Monday, May 6, 2019
Time: 4 – 5 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-tlc-workshop-boost-marketing-2019-farmers-market-season/
*This event is hosted by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC and The Land Connection.

 SBDC Info Session: City of Urbana – Business Grant Programs
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
The City of Urbana offers business grants and reimbursements to support new, expanding, and transitioning businesses in Urbana’s Downtown, Philo Road, and along Cunningham Avenue. Businesses in these areas may receive a Development Grant of up to $2,000 after consulting with the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC (SBDC), an Opening Grant of $1,000 after opening and holding a public opening ceremony, and up to $25,000 in reimbursements for completing renovation work. A representative from Urbana’s Economic Development Department will discuss and answer questions on these programs.
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Time: 8:30 – 9:30 AM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535. All materials will be provided.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-info-session-city-urbana-business-grant-programs-3/

SBDC Info Session: CCRPC’s Financing Programs
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) offers financing for business startups, expansions, and economic development projects. The RPC’s Economic Development Division is a central resource for a variety of innovative financing programs for businesses, organizations, and governments in East Central Illinois. These programs are intended for projects that cannot fully access conventional lending resources. The three programs:

  • Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP): Loans for businesses and organizations located anywhere in Champaign County. Loans between $5,000 and $1,000,000; up to 50% of the total project cost. Eligible for working capital, machinery, equipment, inventory, real estate, infrastructure projects, and many other uses.
  • Intermediary Relending Program (IRP): Loans for businesses, organizations, and governments in communities of less than 25,000 population in the East Central Illinois counties of Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Piatt, and Vermilion. Loans between $5,000 and $250,000; up to 49% percent of the total project cost. Eligible for working capital, machinery, equipment, real estate, rural government infrastructure projects, and many other uses.
  • Champaign County Community Development Corporation (CDC): Financing of businesses located anywhere in Champaign County and surrounding communities. Each CDC loan should be matched by member bank financing. Loans or equity investments; up to 50% of the total project cost. Eligible for working capital, machinery, equipment, real estate, and other uses. Participating member banks include BankChampaign, Busey Bank, Central Illinois Bank, Chase Bank, First Midwest Bank, Midland States Bank, and PNC Bank.

Kathy Larson, RPC’s Economic Development Specialist, will provide an overview of the financing programs, including eligibility details and application requirements. A Q&A session will follow the presentation.
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Time: 12 – 1 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535. All materials will be provided.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-info-session-ccrpcs-financing-programs-3/

SBDC Workshop: What’s in a Brand
Presented By: Clanin Marketing
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
Behind every logo lies an invaluable brand that resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. Why is branding important? Because people often choose products or services based on their perceived value rather than their actual value. Learn what makes a good brand and the best practices for developing your new company’s brand or rebranding an existing one.
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Time: 5:30 – 7 PM
Location: Champaign Public Library (Robeson A & B) – 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535. All materials will be provided.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-workshop-whats-brand-2/

PTAC Services at CUSBDC
Keli Krueger-Huhra, Director of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Bradley University
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
Need expert assistance with government contracting? We can help. Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) are resources for small businesses looking to enter the world of government contracting. The centers provide one-on-one counseling, technical information, marketing assistance and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies.
Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Time: 10 AM – 4 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Small businesses in our area who need expert assistance with government contracting may schedule appointments with Keli Krueger-Huhra, Illinois PTAC Director at Bradley University, by contacting us at ptac@cusbdc.org or calling 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/ptac-services-cusbdc/2019-05-08/
*PTAC services are offered on a monthly basis. Visit our Events Calendar (http://www.cusbdc.org/events/) to see all upcoming dates and times.
**To learn more about and/or better understand PTAC services, watch this video: https://youtu.be/_mX88Sr18x8.

Info Session: Ameren’s Business Energy Efficiency Programs
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
Join us for a Lunch & Learn on Wednesday, May 8 with Ameren Illinois. You are encouraged to attend this event to learn how your business, organization, or public-sector entity can apply for cash incentives to help pay for part of your next electric or natural gas energy efficiency project(s), many of which have paybacks of less than one year. Millions of dollars in cash incentives are available through Ameren Illinois — learn more and start saving. Reserve your place now for this special event, where you will:

  • Find out about the variety of cash incentives available for your business, organization, or public facility
  • Discover ways Ameren Illinois customers can reduce costs by completing energy efficiency projects
  • Learn how, as a trade business, to get cash incentives for your customers
  • Receive a FREE Smart Thermostat coupon to our Online Store
  • Talk to program representatives to answer any of your questions

If you have questions about Ameren’s energy efficiency programs, please contact John Beintema at 309-677-5079 or JBeintema@ameren.com.
Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Time: 11:30 AM – 1 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. Lunch will be provided by Ameren Illinois.  RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/info-session-amerens-business-energy-efficiency-programs/

SBDC Info Session: HUBZone Program
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. The federal government’s goal is to award at least three percent of all federal contracting dollars to HUBZone-certified small businesses each year. This workshop, presented by Keli Krueger-Huhra (PTAC Director at Bradley University) will provide an overview of the HUBZone program, including eligibility criteria, how the program works, and maintaining HUBZone certification. Program benefits:

  • The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses in historically underutilized business zones. It also gives preferential consideration to those businesses in full and open competition.
  • Joining the HUBZone program makes your business eligible to compete for the program’s set-aside contracts. HUBZone-certified businesses also get a 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions.
  • HUBZone-certified businesses can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.

To qualify for the HUBZone program, your business must:

  • Be a small business
  • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, a Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe
  • Have its principal office located in a HUBZone
  • Have at least 35 percent of its employees live in a HUBZone (view the HUBZone map here: https://maps.certify.sba.gov/hubzone/map#center=39.828200,-98.579500&zoom=5)

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Time: 11:30 AM – 1 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC – 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535. Lunch and materials will be provided.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-info-session-hubzone-program/

SBDC Workshop: Starting Your Business in Illinois
Presented By: Don Elmore, Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
Thinking about starting a business in Illinois? This informative workshop helps entrepreneurs understand many of the steps and requirements. You’ll be taken step-by-step through a variety of topics and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Date: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Location: Champaign Public Library (Robeson A & B) – 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. Materials will be provided. RSVP at cusbdc.org, by emailing info@cusbdc.org, or calling 217-378-8535.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-workshop-starting-business-illinois/2019-05-09/
*This workshop is offered on a monthly basis. Visit our Events Calendar (http://www.cusbdc.org/events/) to see all upcoming dates and times.

Free Headshots at Lodgic Everyday Community, Sponsored by the Illinois SBDC at Champaign County EDC
Celebrating National Small Business Week: May 5 – 11, 2019
Back by popular demand, Lodgic Everyday Community and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC are excited to again welcome talented local photographer Anna Longworth, who will be offering free headshots to the community. Timeslots are available from 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 4 PM. Each session will be 10 minutes long, and photos will be delivered digitally within 30 days with full usage/printing rights. Please note that time slots are limited, and are first-come first-serve.
*You don’t have to be a Lodgic member or SBDC client to participate; this opportunity is open to the public.
**Please note, this is for professional headshots only. We will not be set up to accommodate family photos, etc.
Date: Friday, May 10, 2019
Time: 10 AM – 4 PM
Location: Lodgic Everyday Community – 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Call Lodgic at 217-607-8126 to sign up for a 10-minute photo session and show up looking camera-ready.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/free-headshots-anna-longworth-3/

SBDC Workshop: Instagram for Business 101
Presented By: Clanin Marketing
This Instagram for Business workshop is for those looking to optimize their business presence on Instagram. This workshop will provide you with the skills and best practices to enhance your presence, account structure, creative use of visuals, and more. Plus, hear from a local business who has had much Instagram success – Hopscotch Bakery + Market.
Date: Friday, May 24, 2019
Time: 11 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Lodgic Champaign – 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend – registration required to secure a spot. Limited space available. RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, email info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535. All materials will be provided.
Link: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-workshop-instagram-business-101/

// WHO WE ARE + CONTACT US:

To learn more about what the Illinois SBDC at Champaign County EDC does and how it can help you, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pACBxITj1ds. To make an appointment with the SBDC, register on the website at http://www.cusbdc.org/ (click the red ‘Become a Client’ button), call us at 217-378-8535, or contact:

  • Don Elmore, SBDC Director: don@cusbdc.org
  • Mariel Huasanga, International Trade Specialist: mariel@cusbdc.org

Connect with the SBDC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is funded through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce, and the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation; with additional support provided by EDC of Decatur and Macon County and the Midwest Inland Port.