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Cheryl Peck

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UIS Center for Entrepreneurship awards grants to local businesses

June 16, 2006

Private donations will assist some awardees in meeting match

SPRINGFIELD – The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Springfield today awarded $5,000 in matching grants to ten small businesses in Springfield in order to foster innovation and further economic growth.  The awards were the first ever to be given by the Center, located in UIS' College of Business and Management.

"The Center is very pleased to be able to help foster and support small business innovation and growth in the Springfield area through its partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO)," said Ronald McNeil, dean of the College of Business and Management.

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UIS Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center received the $50,000 in grant funds through the Innovate Illinois Project operated by IDCEO. The project is designed to identify innovative small businesses that create economic development and jobs in Illinois.

A total of 14 local/area businesses applied for the grants through the Center’s Grants and Awards Program. A panel of judges outside the university then reviewed the business plans that were submitted to determine which firms would receive grants.

The recipients are BLH Computers, Inc., Springfield; Chatham Plastics, Inc., Chatham; DMG & Associates, Inc., Springfield; Econo Materials and Testing Labs of Illinois, Springfield; Go Pro Mobile Technologies, Springfield; I.N.P. Corporation, Sherman; Picturegolf, LLC, Springfield; R.D. McClain's Labor Service, Springfield; Skyfiredesign, Springfield; and Trendsetters Design, Inc., Chatham.  The businesses are required to match the grants with $5,000 of their own money.  

After the IDCEO matching grant awards were determined, reviewers recommended that three of the plans should receive additional support if possible.  Four local businesses, who are either entrepreneurs themselves and/or mentors of entrepreneurs, agreed to support the recommendations of the reviewers.  McNeil announced that DMG & Associates, Inc. will receive $6,000 support with $5,000 from Illinois Ventures for Community Action and $1,000 from Wiley Office Supply. Trendsetters Design, Inc. will receive $5,000 from lead supporter Brandt Consolidated/Evelyn Brandt Thomas; and Go Pro Mobile Technologies will receive $5,000 from Springfield Electric Supply Company.                                   

The IDCEO announced in January 2005 a partnership to establish the Center for Entrepreneurship at UIS to continue promoting entrepreneurship and economic growth in the Central Illinois region. The Center, the thirteenth to be opened since Governor Blagojevich took office, is part of his Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy to create jobs in Illinois.

The Center, directed by Dr. Richard Judd, works in collaboration with EntreNET, a network of organizations and individuals in greater Springfield designed to form one seamless program of opportunity for entrepreneurs.


    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.