News & Blog

UPDATES & EVENTS: AUGUST 2019

// UPDATES & REMINDERS + GOOD TO KNOW:

2019 Governor’s Export Awards Winners Announced
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and Erin Guthrie, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), announced the recipients of the 2019 Governor’s Export Awards during a ceremony at the Union League of Chicago on June 26, 2019. The Governor’s Export Awards honor Illinois companies that achieved excellence in exporting, as well as organizations that provide export assistance. International trade is a major component of the Illinois economy and the state is the number one exporter in the Midwest and 6th in the United States. We were proud to celebrate two of our clients:

  • Sun Buckets (New Exporter): An energy company with a focus toward sustainability. Their technology provides a game-changing innovation that enables the collection, storage, and use of renewable solar energy. With Sun Buckets, users can cook without fuel, fire, or emissions, and because Sun Buckets provide portable storage, users can cook when and where they like, including inside and at night. Sun Buckets cooks with the sun, even at night. They tackle head on the global cooking crisis, which is the 4th largest killer globally. Sun Buckets cooking systems are in Haiti, West Africa, East Africa, Cambodia, and now India.
  • Elastec (Exporter Continuing Excellence): North America’s largest manufacturer of oil spill response equipment, including oil skimmers, containment boom, portable incinerators, vacuums, & work boats. They have expanded the applications of their products to include surface water pollution, medical waste and drug incinerators. Today, Elastec’s products are distributed to 155 countries.

“The assistance provided by and through the SBDC has allowed us to expand our international efforts which have resulted in some significant opportunities. The personnel of the SBDC are very knowledgeable and provide a great go-to source of information for us.” – Jeff Bohleber, CEO of Elastec

View photos from the ceremony here.

2019 Diverse Business Opportunity Fair – August 28 at iHotel and Conference Center, Champaign
Did you know that the University of Illinois System’s FY19 operating expenses were budgeted at $6.8 billion? Are you a minority, woman, disabled, or veteran small business owner and want to do business with the U of I System and contribute to that dollar amount? If you said yes, then come meet the decision-makers! The 2019 Diverse Business Opportunity Fair is open to all diverse businesses who desire to do business with the University of Illinois. The Diverse Business Opportunity Fair is part of an initiative organized and sponsored by the University of Illinois System’s Office of Procurement Diversity to increase diversity among university departments and help diverse businesses gain more access to the procurement process. Learn more: https://www.conferences.uillinois.edu/uiuc/2019-diverse-opportunity-fair/?fbclid=IwAR3tYaBS2-JaGXR8v_HXKu4VUaJa-yqel5BV3auPmqsPczz5RdK5zisSr9w

Hemp: An Agricultural Commodity – September 13 at Parkland College, Champaign
Educational event focused on supporting the agricultural community.
Join Parkland College and the Champaign County Farm Bureau for breakfast and cutting edge information surrounding hemp as a new commodity. This engaging educational breakfast will provide a brief history and uses of hemp, growing considerations, up-to-date State and Federal regulations, and business opportunities in this developing industry. Learn more + register to attend: https://parkland.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassInfo.ClassInformation&int_class_id=6270&int_category_id=0&int_sub_category_id=0&int_catalog_id=0

SBA Adjusts Size Standards to Expand Lending & Contracting Opportunities
The U.S. Small Business Administration recently issued an interim final rule that will adjust monetary-based small business size standards for inflation to allow more small businesses to become eligible for the SBA’s loan and contracting programs. The rule was published in the Federal Register on July 18, 2019. The SBA estimates that nearly 90,000 additional businesses will gain small business status under the adjusted size standards, becoming eligible for SBA loan and contracting programs. This could possibly lead to as much as $750 million in additional federal contracts awarded to small businesses and up to 120 additional small business loans totaling nearly $65 million. Learn more: https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-adjusts-size-standards-expand-lending-contracting-opportunities?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Best Hiring Practices: What You Can and Can’t Ask a Job Applicant
If you are in the market for a new employee, there are many considerations: Does the applicant have the skills to do the job? Will he or she fit into your company culture? These are great questions to ask. But in the course of your search for your next employee, be sure you don’t run afoul of federal and state rules. Learn more: https://www.sba.gov/blog/best-hiring-practices-what-you-can-cant-ask-job-applicant?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

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

Community Business Expo (Entrepreneur Coaching Academy)
What does it take to start a business? Come find out from the newest crop of local entrepreneurs at the Community Business Expo! Join us at Douglass Branch Library as the first cohort of the Entrepreneur Coaching Academy presents their new business ventures to the community. Not only will you be showing your support for local business, but you’ll also have a chance to win cool prizes, simply by talking to expo participants about their entrepreneurial ideas.
Date: Saturday, August 10, 2019
Time: 11 AM – 2 PM
Location: Douglass Branch Library – 504 E. Grove Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Link: https://champaign.org/event/community-business-expo-2875992

 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: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Time: 9 – 11 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. 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-2/2019-08-13/
*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 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, August 15, 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-3/2019-08-15/

SBDC Workshop: Website Design
Presented By: Clanin Marketing
In this workshop, you will learn the latest website design trends and strategies to help improve your search engine rankings and user experience across your website. You will also learn the importance of having Google Analytics and conversion tracking codes installed on your website, the popularity of customer live chat systems, and more.
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Time: 12 – 1:30 PM
Location: Lodgic Champaign – 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. 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-website-design-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, August 21, 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/2019-08-21/
*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 Workshop: Target Your Customers with Remarketing Codes
Presented By: Clanin Marketing
Notice specific ads that appear on Google or Facebook after visiting a website? Learn how these profitable remarketing ads work and how to apply them to your business. You will learn how to install remarketing codes to your website and best practices for running successful remarketing campaigns.
Date: Friday, August 23, 2019
Time: 11:30 AM – 1 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-target-customers-remarketing-codes/

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 that has had much Instagram success – Mrs. Emily.
Date: Thursday, September 5, 2019
Time: 5:30 – 7 PM
Location: Lodgic Everyday Community – 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. 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-101-2/

SBDC Workshop: Search Engine Optimization
Presented By: Clanin Marketing
High ranks on Google can increase brand exposure and traffic to your website. Learn how search engines work and ways to help increase your rankings online. Understand how to select the best keywords while auditing your own website so you can make high impact improvements.
Date: Thursday, September 19, 2019
Time: 12 – 1:30 PM
Location: Lodgic Champaign – 1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP: Free to attend, registration required to secure a spot. 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-search-engine-optimization-2/

// WHO WE ARE + CONTACT US:
To learn more about what the Illinois SBDC at Champaign County EDC does and how we 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), email info@cusbdc.org, or contact:

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