November 06, 2014

SBDC to celebrate three decades of service

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate three decades of assisting approximately 6,500 clients with new or growing businesses with a special event from 3 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 14. 

“Celebrating 30 Years of Small Business Success” will be at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale. It will feature guest speakers, client success stories and samples of Southern Illinois fare. 

Around 30 businesses will be participating, with displays highlighting their products or services. These current or former clients of the SBDC will demonstrate the positive impact the SBDC and its staff have had on them and the region, according to Robyn Laur Russell, director of Business and International Trade and of The International Trade Center.  Additional clients are still welcome to sign up to be part of the event, as space permits. 

In addition, there will be a Taste of Southern Illinois showcase featuring samples of products from the region, including food and drinks. Plans also call for the presentation of entrepreneurship awards. Guest speakers will include officials from SIU, the Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, along with SBDC clients including Hurley Myers.  

Myers is the co-founder and current CFO of DxR Development Group in Carbondale. A professor emeritus in the SIU School of Medicine, Myers helped create a software program that uses interactive, problem-based patient case studies to help educate health care professional students, residents and physicians in their training, giving them the opportunity to make clinical decisions via virtual patients in preparation for doing so with real patients. 

Launched as a small business housed in the Illinois Small Business Incubator, the company has grown to become a successful international business. The SBDC has assisted with a variety of services and resources along the way. 

“In 1992, I was given the opportunity to transfer our virtual patient educational technology from the medical school to the private sector. I knew nothing about starting or running a business,” Myers said. “Fortunately, the staff at SBDC did and I soon moved into an office in the Business Incubator. Looking back, it is clear to me that the professional guidance we received from the SBDC staff over the years and the convenience of having our offices adjacent to campus, contributed significantly to DxR Development Group’s success.” 

The SBDC opened its doors in 1984. It was created after the state of Illinois established the Small Business Development Center program following approval of the federal Small Business Development Act of 1980. The program provides free, confidential, individualized consulting services for business at all stages of development -- from determining the viability of a business concept to assisting with expansion of existing businesses. The SBDC has provided approximately 90,000 hours of counseling and consultation services since its inception.  

The SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and hosted by SIU.  

Refreshments will be served and information provided about the SBDC and its services at the “Celebrating 30 Years of Small Business Success” event. Organizers request those planning to attend RSVP by Monday, Nov. 10.  To do so, or for more information, visit the website at, call 618/536-2424 or email