March 03, 2010

Business Resource Fair set for March 18

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Business Resource Fair set for 6-8:30 p.m. March 18 is a one-stop opportunity for minorities and women to get valuable information about starting their own businesses or strengthening their existing businesses.

The event will be at the Eurma C. Hayes Center, 441 E. Willow St. in Carbondale. Sponsors are the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit (including the Entrepreneurship Center and the Small Business Development Center) along with the city of Carbondale, the Carbondale branch of the NAACP and the John A. Logan College Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Those attending will learn all about business ownership and what resources exist to help start or expand a business. They’ll find out what free counseling services and workshops are available and how to locate financial resources and secure financing. They also will learn how Illinois firms can successfully compete for government contracting opportunities. In addition, the resource fair will detail the city’s economic development resources and incentives available to businesses locating in an enterprise zone or tax increment financing district.

“Through a variety of programs and initiatives, SIUC is poised to assist female and minority entrepreneurs with both start-up and expansions of their businesses. Our Small Business Development Center offers free, confidential business consulting in the areas of management, marketing, finance and accounting. Additionally, our ‘Operation Bootstrap’ program provides in-depth entrepreneurial training that culminates in a business plan competition allowing participants to compete for seed capital to cover business expenses,” said Emily Carter, director of entrepreneurship and business development for the University. Carter is one of the presenters for the Business Resource Fair.

Southern Que BBQ will provide a light dinner for the event.

Seating is limited and the deadline to register is March 16. Here’s where you can pick up registration forms:

• Carbondale City Hall, 200 S. Illinois Ave., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Eurma C. Hayes Center, 441 E. Willow St., 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays.

Return completed forms to either of those locations or place in the drop box at the NAACP office at the Eurma C. Hayes Center. Or, you can register by phone by contacting Faith Johnson at 618/457-3229.

For more information about the Business Resource Fair, contact Marilyn James, community relations officer for Carbondale’s Community Services Department, at 618/457-3246 or leave a message for the Rev. Sidney Logwood in the NAACP office at 618/457-7722.