EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the opening of a new Entrepreneurship Center located on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). The SIUE Entrepreneurship Center will focus its efforts primarily in Madison and St. Clair counties, delivering a broad range of traditional and enhanced business services for entrepreneurs throughout the region.
“I’m very excited that we are joining with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on this initiative to enhance the business opportunities for residents of the Metro East region,” Governor Blagojevich said. “These Entrepreneurship Centers are the foundation of a true statewide network that will help us build a more vibrant economy and create new job opportunities throughout Illinois.”
The SIUE Entrepreneurship Center is designed to be a new, regional hub for coordinating all small business development, entrepreneurship training and entrepreneurship development activity, building on the existing infrastructure of the Small Business Development Center Network, the Illinois Technology Enterprise Center Network, and the Manufacturing Extension Center Network. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering this new initiative.
“By leveraging the resources of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with other public and private resources, there will be an unprecedented level of support for companies with high growth potential during their critical formation and growth stages,” said DCEO Director Jack Lavin. “This partnership allows us to provide accelerated services to these high growth companies that have not been available before, especially in the biotech sector which has become such an important industry in this region.”
The SIUE Entrepreneurship Center will not duplicate existing services; rather, it will serve to coordinate services and programs currently available. The Center will be administered by the SIUE School of Business which will identify student teams to work with client companies, thereby providing critical business assistance to the companies and exposing the students to real-life experiences with entrepreneurs and high growth companies. These student teams will be
directed by SIUE faculty and mentored by private sector business leaders. In addition, the School of Business will coordinate activities with the faculty, research associates and students from other schools at the University including Engineering and the SIUE Ethanol Research Center.
“We are very excited about being a part of the Entrepreneurship Center network,” said Gary Giamartino, Dean of SIUE’s School of Business. “We look forward to having the opportunity to leverage the intellectual expertise of the University and to assist high growth companies in their development. We will also be working to develop an infrastructure providing the entrepreneurs with the capacity for capitalization.”
The SIUE Entrepreneurship Center will focus its efforts on working with high growth potential companies, defined as companies that have the potential for realizing an annual 10 percent increase in both revenues and employment over the next three years. Jim Mager will serve as Director of the SIUE Entrepreneurship Center. Mr. Mager has over 15 years of experience in working with small businesses in the region in the areas of business development, product/technology development and commercialization, quality assurance and marketing. He also has an MBA degree from SIUE and has worked for several companies in the private sector.
The SIUE Entrepreneurship Center will be located on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus at the School of Business in Alumni Hall. Other centers in the network include the Chicago West Side Entrepreneurship Center and the Illini Entrepreneurship Center in Urbana-Champaign. Potential clients of the SIUE Entrepreneurship Center, and those seeking further information on available programs and services through the Center, are encouraged to contact Jim Mager at 618-692-2669. Additional information on programs and services can be accessed at the SIUE Entrepreneurship Center Web site: www.siu.edu/entrepreneurshipcenter.