New project helps launch small business

Local News

MACON COUNTY — For years, aspiring business owners in Decatur were forced to travel elsewhere for free business advice, but thanks to a new partnership with Champaign, Macon County is launching a new program to help people get their small businesses up and running.

“We would love Decatur to become a place to go if you are an innovative person looking to start your own business.”

County officials say they want to inspire entrepreneurs to take their local businesses to the next level. It’s why they’re opening a Small Business Development and International Trade Center.

“It makes great sense to do this and these centers have been very successful in other places around the country.”

The center will offer everything from one-on-one counseling to technical assistance and will even show business owners how to break into the global marketplace.

“I think that’s fantastic.”

Ryan Spurlock is co-owner of a small local business. It’s been open more than 20-years. He says he’s excited to hear about the resources coming to town.

“We never really had access to that stuff, so we just kind of been going at it ourselves, but I think, for someone in our position, that would be starting out, I think it would be a good resource to have.”

He says starting a business is a huge risk, but having someone to turn to when in doubt makes a huge difference.

“If you’re looking to start a business and expand a business, I think it’s pretty scary and maybe that would be a place where you can go, kind of get talked off the ledge.”

County leaders say the center will open doors for many. They feel the future is bright for the community.

“The economy is going to recover because of the success of small, mid-sized businesses and, to make them successful, we need to bring them the education, information and knowledge they need because they’re going to go where they can be successful.”

Right now, Champaign is home to the Illinois Small Business Development Center. The partnership with Decatur is designed to replicate that success.

Next month, the center kicks off its opening by hosting two, two-hour workshops on starting your own business; May 11, 9 am, and May 25, 2 pm.

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