The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College is reaching out to all small business owners in the area to offer help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kevin Lust, director of the ISBDC, says there are lots of things to navigate during this difficult time. “Small Business Development Centers across the country exist to provide assistance for small business growth. Most of the time that’s helping people to start or grow businesses. Right now, we’re here to help people stay in business. Our main role at this point is trying to stay on top of and involved in directing our attention to all of the new options, programs, grants and loans that are being made available so that we can explain those to our clients. Further, to help them actually execute and apply for what they are eligible to apply for.”
Lust says that any small business can go to a Small Business Development Center nearest them to get help. “Right now, most of the programs we are working with are based throughout the State of Illinois for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity programs, but all of the federal programs are available to people across the country. Usually disaster programs are tired to a particular area. Right now, the entire country is considered a disaster area in terms of the economic injury that businesses and business owners are facing. Anybody in the 15-county are that Lincoln Land serves can certainly give us a call at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College. We have 33 other centers across the state so someone outside of the immediate area can find an SBDC nearest them for help.”
Lust says to simply or call 217-786-4531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will follow up with each small business’ specific circumstances and what they need to do. Lust says there are some guidelines and qualifications that businesses need to remember. “With the Illinois programs, there are some limits – usually around 50, but the U.S. Small Business Administration has size standards for I don’t even know how many multiple industries. They go up as much as 500 employees, so small business owners in our area pretty much can qualify. For manufacturing, it’s 100. For some businesses, it’s tied to revenue numbers. I would again say if anyone has any questions about size, they can reach out to us, too because we can help you navigate the assessment of the business’ size.”
A comprehensive list of available assistance for small businesses is also available at www.llcc.edu/sbdc.