Small Business Development
If you own a small business or are considering starting one, the Illinois Small Business Development Center (IL SBDC) at ECC offers free and low-cost assistance to help you succeed.
Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition
We are now accepting applications for the 2016 Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition. Applications will be accepted from January 11, 2016 through March 31, 2016. Eligible businesses must be for profit, headquartered in Illinois, three or more years old, and classified as a small business. Get details
Last Year's Winner
Michelle Lipinski of Rubino Engineering, Inc. won a $10,000 cash prize and $5,000 in consulting services as the winner of the 2015 Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition. Read full story» | View media gallery»
- One-on-one free business counseling and coaching
- Free functional assessments and in-depth financial analyses for existing businesses
- Referrals to other sources of information and/or industry professionals
- Low-cost training workshops, events and courses:
Owners and prospective owners of small businesses are welcome to use the free counseling services of the Illinois SBDC. Counseling areas include:
- Business start-up steps such as legal structure, name registration and license/permit issues
- Business, marketing and strategic plan development
- Guidance and technical support for financing/loan applications
- Financial analysis, tax planning and accounting assistance
- Marketing advice and research
- International trade opportunities or government procurement
- Read testimonials»
Free Telephone and Email Business Coaching
A business coach can help clarify your start-up or established business goals and objectives and give you the resources you need to operate a successful business. We can provide:
- Professional, trained business coaches with backgrounds in small business issues
- Business counseling from the convenience of your home or office
Sign-up for Counseling Services
Signing up for services is simple, secure and convenient! ViewHide details
U.S. Postal, Fax & Email
- 1) Complete a Request for Counseling form*
- 2) Submit the form via U.S. postal and fax or email (if scanned with signature).
- 3) Call 847-214-7488 to schedule an appointment or conference call, or if you have questions on how to fill out the form.
Note: *Once your form is on file with our office, you are entitled to unlimited, free, confidential business counseling: a) in person; b) over the phone; c) via email. You must sign and date the SBDC agreement on the second page of the form before sending to our office.
eCenter Direct - Online Database
- 1) Visit ilsbdc.eCenterDirect.com
- 2) Read instructions for new and existing users.
- 3) Complete and submit your sign-up form.
We Don't Offer
- Lists or advice on what types of business to start
- Guarantee of actual loans or grants*
- To write your business, marketing, or strategic plans for you
*Note: Loans are obtained through financial institutions and other lenders; grants for starting a business are essentially nonexistent.
As part of the statewide Illinois Entrepreneurship Network, we are affiliated with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and are a partnership program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information about these agencies, please visit: Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity | U.S. Small Business Administration