August 26, 2014

Gala will focus on small business successes

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Over the past three decades, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Small Business Development Center has helped hundreds of new and expanding businesses throughout the region and a big celebration will recognize that success. 

The event, “Celebrating 30 Years of Small Business Success,” will take place from 3 to 6 p.m., Nov. 14, at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale.  Robyn Laur Russell, director of Business Development and International Trade and of The International Trade Center, said the center hopes to connect with many of the current and former SBDC clients. 

Russell asks that anyone who has been a SBDC client at any time during the last 30 years and who is still operating a successful business to contact her at or at 618/536-2424. 

The event will include guest speakers, client success stories and awards.  Plans also call for a trade show highlighting SBDC’s wide variety of clients, including a “Taste of SBDC,” featuring a large number of food producers.  

Small businesses, defined by the state of Illinois as those with fewer than 400 employees, comprise 98.3 percent of employers and have a major impact on the state’s economy.  These businesses employ 58 percent of the private-sector labor force. There were 1.2 million small businesses in Illinois in 2010, the most current total available. 

After the federal Small Business Development Act of 1980, the Small Business Development Center program began and the first Illinois centers, including the one at SIU, opened in 1984.  The program provides free, individualized and confidential consulting services for businesses at all stages of development- from helping determine viability to assisting with business expansion.  

The Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.  

For more information on the “Celebrating 30 Years of Small Business Success” event, or entrepreneurship, business development programs and the many services SBDC offers, visit the website at, call 618/536-2424 or email