September 16, 2014

‘Meet the Lenders’ to offer small business opportunities

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Entrepreneurs who are interested in starting or expanding a business can participate in an event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where they have the opportunity to meet lenders and small business experts to learn more about operating a successful business. 

The “Meet the Lenders” business and lender matchmaking event will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 30 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, located at 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale.  

“I’m so excited we are hosting this event that will provide direct, on-on-one contact between regional entrepreneurs with all types of lenders who offer all types of financing products,” Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIU, said.  “It is a great opportunity for anyone already in business who is looking to expand as well as for anyone who is thinking of launching a new business.  ‘Meet the Lenders’ will be the interaction point for people to gain access to capital.  Our goal is for a multitude of regional business funding partnerships to begin at this event.  I encourage anyone that comes to bring a business plan and be ready to discuss financing options for your company.” 

Business owners or prospective owners will be able to meet individually with loan officers from Small Business Association lenders and partner lenders and review business plans and business loan proposals. 

Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Illinois Ventures for Community Action, Champion Community Investment and the Delta Regional Authority will be present. In addition, small business funding expert advisers from the SIU Illinois Small Business Development Center, Shawnee Community College, Southeastern Illinois College, Rend Lake College, Kaskaskia College and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center at John A. Logan College will also be available. Justine Petersen, SBA Micro-loan intermediary lender, will also be on hand for consultation services. 

The advisers offer assistance with business plans and financial assistance at no cost.  

Since it was established in 1953, the SBA has provided millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other types of assistance to small businesses.  The Delta Regional Authority covers 252 counties and parishes in eight states, providing assistance through strategic partnerships, community-based projects and initiatives designed to foster economic growth and development. 

“Our office is pleased to bring lenders and entrepreneurs together with ‘Meet the Lenders.’ SIU Economic Development’s mission includes providing entrepreneurs with resources and information to achieve their goals and grow their businesses,” Kyle Harfst, executive director of Economic Development and the Southern Illinois Research Park at SIU, said. 

There is no cost to attend.  However, seating is limited and pre-registration is required no later than Sept. 25.  To register, contact the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU by calling 618/536-2424 or by email at  

Additional information about the event is available at Event sponsors include Southern Illinois University Economic and Regional Development, the Illinois Small Business Development Center, the Illinois Small Business Administration and the Delta Regional Authority.