September 30, 2019

Find out how to start a business at SIU’s Small Business Development Center workshops

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Have you longed to own your own business? Perhaps you have a good idea for a product or service and wonder if you could make a living providing it.

If you’ve ever pondered launching your own business, or if you’d like to expand your current small business and take it to the next level, check out the “Starting a Business in Illinois” workshops the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is offering this fall.

A voice of experience

Tracy McGee, of Creal Springs, has learned firsthand how helpful the workshop and resources at the SBDC can be. McGee attended a “Starting a Business in Illinois” workshop in June. Her business startup, Treasured Creations, features soaps and salves she creates herself by hand. Her plans include expanding with the second phase of operations to include a “pick-your-own” herb farm and eventually perhaps an herb Community Supported Agriculture operation.

She found both the workshop and the Small Business Toolkit informative and valuable. She’s also meeting one-on-one with SBDC advisers and continuing to work on her business plan as she works toward her goals and establishes her business.

McGee said she’s amazed to find such valuable resources here in Southern Illinois, especially considering the low cost of the workshop and that there’s no charge for the other services.

“A lot of people have to pay a lot of money for the services I am receiving here at the SIU SBDC,” McGee said.  “I’m grateful for that support.”

Three workshops offered

The expertise that has proven so valuable to McGee and numerous other entrepreneurs is available to everyone in the region.

There are currently three SBDC workshops planned this fall. All take place at the Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center, located at 1740 Innovation Drive in SIU’s Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center.

The workshop schedule includes:

  • Oct. 7, 5-7 p.m.
  • Nov. 5, 1-3 p.m.
  • Dec. 9, 9-11 a.m.

Watch the website,, for postings of the schedule for spring 2020 workshops, too.

 Workshops cover many topics

Each two-hour workshop presentation incorporates the most recent information available about creating a successful business or expanding an existing company.

Featured topics will include:

  • Start-up requirements.
  • Business planning.
  • Obtaining financing.
  • Legal structure.
  • Licensing and registration.
  • Market research and planning.

Participants receive instruction, business toolkit and more for $20

The cost of the workshop is $20 and that covers the cost of the presentations and more.  Those attending will receive a business toolkit, in both print and electronic formats. The kit contains an assortment of helpful checklists, guides and resource booklets from the Illinois Small Business Development Center statewide network and the U.S. Small Business Administration, as well as other helpful information.

Participants will also have access to the expertise and assistance of the center’s experienced, professional staff. They will connect with certified business advisers who can help them assess their business plans and determine how to reach their goals during the question and answer session following the workshop.

Sign up now

Seating for the workshops is limited and frequently fills up fast so register now. Find complete details and registration online at Or, call 618/536-2424 or email for more information.

SIU’s SBDC helps business owners in many ways

SIU Carbondale hosts the Illinois Small Business Development Center with funding provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The center provides a wide variety of services to prospective and current business owners and others. From concept to creation to expansion, the SBDC’s staff are available to help. Typically, services are provided at no cost. To learn more about SIU’s entrepreneurship and business development programs and services, contact the center at 618/536-2424 or by emailing