November 19, 2007

Incubator staff members attend training institute

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Helping new and expanding businesses along the pathway to success is what Kyle L. Harfst, Emily J. Carter and Robyn Laur Russell do on a daily basis at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The trio recently participated in business incubation training at Nashville, Tenn., acquiring the latest and most successful strategies to develop and manage successful entrepreneurial support programs. They were among more than 100 business incubation and economic development professionals worldwide attending workshops conducted by the National Business Incubation Association during its 17th annual Fall Training Institute.

Those who help entrepreneurs had the opportunity to attend workshops on a variety of topics, including facilities management, serving client companies and rural incubation strategies. There were nine workshops during the three-day event.

The association estimates that in 2005 alone, North American incubators assisted more than 27,000 new companies, providing 100,000 workers with full-time employment and generating annual revenue exceeding $17 billion. Business incubation programs, including the Southern Illinois Incubator Program at SIUC, aid new and growing companies by providing expertise, networks and tools that entrepreneurs need to maximize their potential and their venture's success.

The SIUC Small Business Incubator has been the initial host for dozens of start-up businesses in the nearly 20 years it's existed. Located within the Southern Illinois Research Park, the Small Business Incubator offers tenants wet lab, office and light industrial space. Currently housed within its walls are a variety of tenants, including BioInsite, a microbiological company formed on the basis of University research, and Betty Z. Taylor & Associates, a consulting company providing screening and training services for public agencies including the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Harfst is director of technology and enterprise development while Carter is director of entrepreneurship and business development. Russell is director of business development and international trade. All work within facilities at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, located at 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road. For more information, call 618/536-2424 or look online at