December 19, 2006

New entrepreneurship center opens in Centralia

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- There is a new place for business owners to get training and inspiration.

The University Entrepreneurship Center recently opened its doors in Centralia. The office is the second entrepreneurship center of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Office of Economic and Regional Development. The other office, Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, resides in Carbondale's Southern Illinois Research Park, along with the main office.

The mission of the University Entrepreneurship Center is to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in central and Southern Illinois. Experts will support the region's businesses and entrepreneurs by connecting them to the many resources that will enable those with high potential to continue to grow, thus fueling economic development and job creation.

"I consider this an opportunity of a lifetime," said Rick Bonsall, director of the University Entrepreneurship Center. "In the few weeks I've been on board I have had the chance to meet and start working with the region's leaders. I've found them open to change and innovation and eager to put the south-central region back in the economic limelight. To be able to work with such dedicated community leaders is a privilege and an honor."

Bonsall brings a wealth of experience to the position, with more than 12 years experience in the services industry and a quarter century of government service.

Bonsall holds a bachelor's degree in occupational education from SIUC, a master of science in adult education from Troy State University in Alabama and master's and doctorate degrees in management from Webster University in St. Louis.

Bonsall's goals are to develop strong partnerships with the region's business and civic leaders, work with high-potential businesses to create job opportunities and lead a collaborative partnership to provide not only traditional small business assistance, manufacturing extension, technology enterprise development, trade or procurement assistance programs and services, but also more enhanced entrepreneurship technical assistance.

"I want to work tirelessly to bring together a wealth of resources and contacts that can support entrepreneurs, including service providers, business leaders, universities and financial leaders," he said.

Information Technology Manager Ronald D. Sharp and Office Manager Ginny Dailey will assist Bonsall at the new center.

Expanding our reach is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Rick Bonsall

Rick Bonsall
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