March 21, 2016

Federal ‘bridge’ funds give SBDC temporary reprieve

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Illinois Small Business Development Center will not close March 31 as anticipated thanks to short-term federal funding. But, without a state budget in place, officials say closure is imminent after July 1.  

SIU officials, working with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Small Business Administration, were able to secure sufficient federal “bridge” funding to keep the center open through June 30, according to Kyle Harfst, executive director of the SIU Research Park and economic development for SIU. 

Due to the budget impasse in Springfield, SIU has not received any state funding since the fiscal year started on July 1, 2015. The impasse in turn has affected funding for the SBDC, which led university officials to announce recently that the center would close March 31, resulting in the loss of five full-time and four student employee jobs. The bridge funding will allow the center to continue operating through the end of the current fiscal year. 

The SBDC, launched in 1985, provides a wide range of business development services and assistance to entrepreneurs and new and expanding companies throughout the region. The center helps more than 500 clients annually. 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. 

For more information about the SBDC or the numerous services it provides to new and growing businesses, contact Robyn Laur Russell at or by calling 618/536-2424.