June 25, 2015

SBDC earns statewide award for service, programs

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has won a Roger Luman Program Excellence Award from the Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth Association.  

The award recognizes outstanding and innovative programs that utilize best practices in providing services and programs to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SIU has celebrated its 30th anniversary of helping new and expanding businesses with the “Celebrating 30 Years of Success: SBDC Client Spotlight Series” and it is for this series that the center earned the statewide recognition. 

In addition to hosting a 30th Anniversary Awards and Trade Show Celebration in Nov. 2014, the SBDC created the Spotlight Series to share the center’s client success stories through written and video vignettes. The series included a dozen video interviews with businesses, posted online to highlight the businesses and the services the center provides for them. In addition, the showcase includes an ongoing series of written stories with photographs that focus on the growth and success of businesses in the region and the contributions and services the SBDC provides to help. The pieces are shared online, via media, and through local and statewide websites, e-newsletters and other avenues. 

“The primary strength of the program is that clients can speak in their voices of how the center helped them, which is providing to be more effective than us trying to tell people what we do,” SBDC officials wrote in their award application. 

They said the feedback from clients on the stories and videos has been incredibly positive and that it has also helped other business owners and people in the community become aware of how valuable the SBDC and the services it provides are. 

The presentation of the Luman Award, made by Mark Petrilli, Illinois SBDC director, and Ken Klotz, Bradley University director of Entrepreneurship, took place in May at the IESBGA Annual Conference in Normal. SBDC staff contributing to the award-winning project included: Greg Bouhl, SBDC director and assistant director of entrepreneurship and business development at SIU; Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade; Business Development Specialists Aimee Wigfall, Ken Stoner and Ted Gutierrez; Michelle Breslin, international trade specialist; and Elizabeth Zinchuk, undergraduate assistant/journalism student. 

The award is named in honor of Roger Luman, a founding member of the IESBGA and longtime coordinator of the Program Excellence Awards who served as managing director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship in the Foster College of Business Administration at Bradley University. 

The Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center, 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 Carbondale.  

To learn more about the SBDC and the many services it provides to new and growing businesses, visit www.sbdc.siu.edu or contact Robyn Laur Russell at rrussell@biz.siu.edu or 618/536-2424.