Small businesses throughout Kane County can now receive additional support thanks to the Illinois Small Business Development Center, a program offered by the Center for Entrepreneurship at College of DuPage.
The program has extended assistance to Kane County-area businesses this July; it also services Will and DuPage counties. Until recently, there were Illinois Small Business Development Centers at Waubonsee Community College and Elgin Community College, but both closed last year due to budget reasons, according to Ute Westphal, program specialist for the Center for Entrepreneurship at College of DuPage.
The Illinois Small Business Development Center has roughly 300 clients throughout Kane County. Fifty percent of clients served in Kane County are start-ups; the other half are businesses looking to grow, which is fantastic, according to Westphal.
The center is currently working to serve clients through the development of a workshop schedule that will be brought to the area in January 2018.
“What we’ve done so far is serve our clients in Kane County with one-on-one meetings,” Westphal said. “The one-on-one meetings are catered to their needs and their industry.”
A number of industries have received assistance, including manufacturing, home services, medical, handyman services, occupational therapy and retail.
Bulldog Plumbing of Batavia, operated by Douglas Saam, received guidance by attending a class before the business incorporated in 2011. Saam attended a class by the now shuttered Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College.
“So when we were first starting the company, there was a class that explained how you looked at your expenses. Not just your materials or the stuff you’re selling but all the stuff you don’t think about or easily overlook: rent, the different kinds of insurance, and all of your overhead,” Saam said. He added that this lets a potential business owner know if his or her idea makes financial sense or if the price point he or she is setting for services works out.
Saam said that after the class, he had called the center and asked questions on specific matters.
The workshop attended by Saam isn’t the only type of class offered by such centers, as the Small Business Development Center at College of DuPage plans to offer workshops on customer relations, operations, organizations and business contacts, as well as a start-up guide that goes over everything legally necessary to start a business in Kane County.
Westphal went on to say that educating small business owners about developing a sustainable model dramatically reduces the failure rate.
“And that’s our mission,” she said. “It’s what we do.”
Holiday Gift Auction
Shaw Media will host a Holiday Gift Auction featuring local businesses from Nov. 17 to 27. Gifts listed on the auction site will be available for up to 50 percent off. Those featured on the site include State Street Jewelers, the Kane County Cougars, All Spoked Up, Skin Deep Day Spa, the Herrington Inn and Spa and others. Visit kcchronicle.com for more information.