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Cheryl Peck


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UIS becomes entreNET partner to assist entrepreneurs

June 28, 2005

SPRINGFIELD – An entreNET partnership between the University of Illinois at Springfield and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce has been established to streamline the delivery of services to entrepreneurs.  The network is the newest and most comprehensive coalition that has been established for the purpose of growing new businesses in the Central Illinois region.

Related sites

entreNET webpage
UIS College of Business & Management

The Chamber is the lead partner with UIS in the administration of UIS’ new Center for Entrepreneurship that is housed in the university’s College of Business and Management. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) announced the establishment of the Center at UIS in January to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth in the Central Illinois region.  The Center, the 13th to be opened since Gov. Rod Blagojevich took office, is part of his Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy to create jobs in Illinois.

Richard Judd, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, called the entreNet partnership an exciting concept. “Nothing like this has been done before in our region. This should be the background of the drive to enhance business start-ups and expansion of existing small business firms in the Central Illinois region,” he said.

By creating a pathway for assistance that didn’t exist before, entreNET will provide entrepreneurs with online business plan assistance, access to all of the region’s training opportunities for business growth and management, networking with other entrepreneurs, financial planning assistance, and access to venture capitalists. The network will also provide a calendar of events highlighting the region’s seminars and activities for business owners and managers and easy access to all of the entreNET partners.

In addition to UIS and The Chamber, current entreNET partners are Capital Area Small Business Development Center, City of Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development, Sangamon County Department of Community Resources, Bank of Springfield, National City Bank, Chatham Area Chamber of Commerce, Capital Fund, Inc., Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, SCORE, Lincoln Land Community College, Capital City Center, Springfield College in Illinois, Robert Morris College, SIU School of Medicine, Downtown Springfield, Inc., Garrison Group, Inc., Illinois Ventures for Community Action, Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Springfield, National Association for the Self-Employed (N.A.S.E.) and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The partners, who will serve as the advisory council of the Center for Entrepreneurship, will work on a strategic plan for the region’s entrepreneurship programming and support, collaborate on existing and emerging business ideas, and distribute seed grants for new firms.

Entrepreneurs can access the entreNET at www.entreNET.us, or by calling The Chamber.

Dr. Judd, who is also a professor of business administration at UIS, said the Center for Entrepreneurship is expected to receive $50,000 in Challenge Grant funding and administrative support through the Opportunity Returns program in FY2006. “Those funds will be used to support existing small businesses and emerging entrepreneurial firms that have strong business plans,” he said.

For more information, contact Dr. Judd at (217) 206-7918.



    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.