August 22, 2007

'Made in Southern Illinois Showcase' set for fair

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – "Made in Southern Illinois Showcase" is a special exhibit coming to the 2007 Du Quoin State Fair courtesy of the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The exhibit in the Expo Hall will allow a variety of homegrown companies the opportunity to display their goods and services. It's an exciting opportunity for businesses to reach thousands of people and a good chance for fair visitors to see what comes from the hearts, heads and hands of Southern Illinoisans, according to Robyn Laur Russell, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

"Most of these businesses are just getting launched and exposure is what they are craving," said Laur Russell, "I'm proud of the businesses we have lined up. They vary greatly in product and service and I think it will be fun for them to interact with the regional public."

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIUC is spearheading the exhibit. Co-sponsors include other University programs in the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network, including the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, the University Entrepreneurship Center (Centralia), the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, the Southern Illinois Research Park and Incubator Program and Connect SI. Funded in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the programs work to positively impact the Illinois economy. The programs, hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, provide technical assistance to the state's small businesses.

The Du Quoin State Fair runs Aug. 25 through Labor Day, Sept. 3. The Made in Southern Illinois Showcase is open to the public and will generally highlight a different client each day of the fair. The showcase spotlights successful area businesses that create products in Southern Illinois and sell them in the global marketplace. The collective knowledge and resources of SIUC help these businesses "Connecting locally, thinking globally."

"We have many strengths with our businesses in Southern Illinois," said Larry Woolard, manager of the Opportunity Returns Southern Region. "One of the most positive strengths is their ability to market and sell their products outside of the region and bring the new, spendable income back into our area."

For more information about the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network and the many services it provides, call 618/536-2424 or look online at