Starting a Business in Illinois Workshops


Pryor Jordan had an idea. While working at a Jackson County computer repair shop, he noticed that customers frequently asked if the store could repair cellular telephones, especially ones with cracked or shattered screens. Watching individual after individual turned away, he wondered if he could turn broken phones into a business.

Jordan began learning about phone repair and started replacing telephone screens on a makeshift workstation in his apartment, but he still wondered what else to do with his idea. That's when Jordan, like hundreds of other potential entrepreneurs, turned to a local source for ideas, analysis, resources and even encouragement - a Small Business Development Center (SBDC).... [more]  



The Business of the Year Award was presented to Croessmann Wholesale Co. of Du Quoin, a historic downtown business.  Recipients of the award are owners, David and George Ciganovich.
The Emerging Business of the Year Award was presented to the St. Nicholas Brewing Co. Restaurant on South Oak Street. Recipients of the award was Abby Ancell, General Manager.
The President's Award for outstanding service to the chamber was presented to Tracy Fenton of Fenton's Custom Collision. Fenton's giving to the community and to the chamber in terms of time and money is unprecedented. He is wholly involved in the work of the chamber and the growth of his custom collision center and towing service has been exponential. Construction has started on a new, state-of-the-art collision center at the intersection of Rt. 51 and 14 and is slated to open this summer.

SBDC Was on the Ground Floor with Herrin Firm
January 04, 2015

Mark Novoa's unique concept of a mobile showroom to enhance his planned flooring company received a boost from the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Novoa said the SBDC was instrumental in helping him move Ground FX Flooring from an idea into a successful business that installs up to 25 floors a week. The business has a traditional showroom and service facility in Herrin but also features a mobile unit, giving customers a new convenient way to choose their flooring. [more] 

December 21, 2014

Building on 26 years of success, a Southern Illinois pet food business is targeting new markets as far away as West Africa with the help of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU.

Wade Graskewicz founded Hi-Standard Suppliers in Pinckneyville as a retail store in 1998, offering dog supplies and more. He began manufacturing the Hi-Standard dog food that same year, building the brand and the business from the ground up. Skyler Graskewicz, Wade's son and the current president, said the business became so successful it was able to purchase one of its biggest competitors, Joy Pet Food, in 2011. [more] 

 When three Southern Illinois women found themselves unemployed, they created a business to put their 60 years of combined experience into use. The Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU has been on board with valuable assistance.    


Rose Cartwright, Sue Endres and Karen Page are all certified professional coders and members of the American Academy of Professional Coders. They worked together at a regional medical practice until it relocated, leaving them unemployed. One of the physicians, however, suggested they contact the SBDC to explore the idea of starting their own business, utilizing their skills and expertise. [more]  

Prominent VCs and angel investors may dominate the headlines with their big sticker investments, but personal loans and credit - along with investments from friends and family - make up the lion's share of funding for startups in the U.S.


According to data compiled by Fundable, only 0.91 percent of startups are funded by angel investors, while a measly 0.05 percent are funded by VCs. In contrast, 57 percent of startups are funded by personal loans and credit, while 38 percent receive funding from family and friends.

Want a more detailed breakdown of startup funding? Check out the infographic below.

Original article can be found here.

Ken Stoner is the Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Specialist at our SBDC.     


Ken Stoner works at the Illinois SBDC at SIU-C as a Small Business Advisor.  He is a Certified Business Development Advisor through the Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business & Growth Association.  Ken has fifteen years of management experience; owns his own technology consulting business; and spent three years in education as a teacher, technology director, and advisor for the Illinois Association of Superintendents of Schools.  He consults with clients as well as develops new and revised training materials specializing in technology, intellectual property, and finance. He is an SIU Carbondale graduate, has lived in the area for over thirty years, and is familiar with the rural demographic of Southern Illinois.  He and his wife, Mary, live in Carterville, IL and have a 10-year-old son, David.


We are also pleased to announce that Ken has successfully attained the Certified Technology Consultant (CTC) designation.  From fully-operational businesses generating revenue to an idea you scribbled on a napkin, Ken is here to help you commercialize new ideas into innovative products and services.  

Learn More about Us
The  Illinois Small Business Development Center / International Trade Center / Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale can help you take your business idea from concept to reality, grow and sustain your current business, and lead the way for you to expand your company into the global marketplace.  The Small Business Incubator Program offers a professional business environment with direct access to business coaching. 

"I'm batting a thousand with the
Small Business Development Center!"

- Todd Darnstaedt, Today's Technology Auto Repair

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 Southern Illinois University Carbondale.