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
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»
Get Ready for Next Year!
We will begin accepting applications for the 2016 Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition in January 2016. Eligible businesses must be for-profit, headquartered in Illinois, three or more years old, and classified as a small business. Check back here for more information as it becomes available.
- 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!
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
- 2) Read instructions for new and existing users.
- 3) Complete and submit your sign-up form.
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
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.