August 03, 2007

Sanders heads Centralia entrepreneurship center

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Kimberly J. Sanders is the new director of the University Entrepreneurship Center.

The Centralia-based center, which opened in October 2006, is a partnership between Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the University of Illinois. It’s the second entrepreneurship center of SIUC’s Office of Economic and Regional Development. The other, the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, is in the Southern Illinois Research Park at the south edge of the SIUC campus.

Sanders, of Benton, took the helm of the University Entrepreneurship Center in July. She said she’s excited about her new role helping businesses and the region.

“I look forward to getting more businesses involved with the services we offer,” Sanders said. She said she will actively seek candidates for the Challenge Grants her office administers on behalf of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In addition, she’s working to build relationships within the local and state entrepreneurship networks. Connecting area businesses and entrepreneurs with the many resources available to help them grow and reach their potential fuels economic development and job creation, she said.

Sanders earned dual master’s degrees in public health at SIUC and in business administration from SIU Edwardsville. She also completed her bachelor’s degree in community health education at SIUC.

Since 2004, Sanders had been the Illinois Delta Network coordinator for the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development at SIUC. She previously was the education coordinator for the same agency, preceded by stints as program director at The Family Visitation Center in Herrin, mental health counselor at Comprehensive Services, Inc. in Mt. Vernon and partnership specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of the Census in Chicago.

The University Entrepreneurship Center is at 100 N. Locust St. in Centralia, within the South Central Regional Technology Building. Its mission is encouraging and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit in central and Southern Illinois. The center serves the following counties: Marion, Clay, Richland, Lawrence, Crawford, Jasper, Effingham, Fayette, Cumberland, Clark, Edgar, Coles and Moultrie.

Sanders replaces Rick Bonsall as director of the center. The office is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about the center and its services, contact Sanders or Virginia Dailey, office manager, at 618/532-1086 or e-mail Sanders at