Businesses Can Get a "Jump Start" for the New Year with Training in February

January 10, 2013

Following a successful first year, Southeastern Illinois College’s (SIC) Workforce & Illinois Small Business Development Center (WISBDC) and the Saline County Industrial Development Company (SCIDC) have teamed up once again to offer a unique educational opportunity to area businesses and micro-entrepreneurs. 

“Operation Jump Start: Building Communities of Opportunity” is being sponsored by the two business development groups as a training and mentoring program designed to cover a wide-range of relevant topics, including business concept development, market research and analysis, financial projections, and case studies.  The class consists of eight sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 starting Feb. 5 and ending on Feb. 28. 

Both groups believe that expanding existing businesses and building new business opportunities are vital to the health of the community.  The SCIDC is providing up to $10,000 in grant funding per class for the best feasibility plans to come out of the program for businesses in Saline County.

Lori Cox, Associate Dean of Workforce and Community Education at SIC, is thrilled to partner with the SCIDC to offer such an extraordinary opportunity to Saline County’s business community. “The curriculum, which is broken down into eight class sessions, is modeled after a highly successful Operation Jump Start initiative at Southeast Missouri State University through a partnership with the Delta Regional Authority,” said Cox.

“The course takes participants through a step-by-step process that is comprehensive in scope and based on proven entrepreneurial practices directly affecting the success of small businesses.  Topics range from targeting markets, preparing budgets, and sales forecasts to estimating start-up costs, annual operating expenses, and lending needs.” Cox also indicated that matters regarding smart financing and realistic cash flow expectations will be addressed to strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of participants.

The program targets not only those who are currently in business but also those who want to explore potential business opportunities.  Individuals enrolled in the program will develop business feasibility plans, which will then be evaluated according to their overall merit.

One of last year’s participants and award recipients, Debbie Case with Shawnee Trails Realty says, “The class was very informative and provided needed answers to the many business startup questions I had.  The feasibility plan served as a blueprint that will allow our business to operate successfully for years to come.  The $2,000 grant helped immensely with startup costs and allowed us to get our business off the ground.”

Michael Tison, Treasurer of SCIDC, shares Cox’s excitement and enthusiasm.  “The Industrial Company is very pleased to partner with the college to offer a funding source that rewards those who have business ideas that will help stimulate entrepreneurship in Saline County,” said Tison. “If we can encourage entrepreneurship in Saline County, it can translate into expanded services for the residents and a county that is stronger financially.  The bottom line is that business growth equates to a better quality of life for those living in Saline County.”  Tison added, “This is an awesome opportunity for anyone with a business idea who wants to take control of their career and learn what it takes to have a successful business.”

By helping sponsor the program and providing incentives to its participants, SCIDC hopes to see a return of the “entrepreneurial spirit” to Saline County.

The feasibility plans resulting from the class will be evaluated by SCIDC’s executive committee with grants awarded based on the recommendations of the committee.

The class costs $125 which includes all materials and the Operation JumpStart book.  Classes will be held at the WISBDC which is located on the 2nd floor of the Old National Bank building located at 2 East Locust Street in Harrisburg.  Class size is limited to 20, so early registration is advised.  For more information regarding Operation Jump Start call the WISBDC at 618-252-5001, ext. 7.


Written by Dan King, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Business Specialist for Southeastern Illinois College