Oakton College opens Small Business Development Center (SBDC) during Small Business Month

Make your business idea a reality with the support of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Oakton College.

Des Plaines, Ill. (May 8, 2023) - Free and open-to-the-public support for starting or growing small businesses is now available at Oakton College as the College kicks off Small Business Month and celebrates Small Business Day, May 10.

The recently opened Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Oakton College provides business advising and training, including, but not limited to, business formation, financial analysis, needs assessments, market projections, accessing capital, developing a business plan, strategic planning and more. The Center will also offer workshops and webinars on various topics, including how to start a business in Illinois, writing a business plan, how to register with the System for Award Management (SAM) and Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) and programs of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and local units of government.

"Helping members of our community with their small business interests is part of supporting and empowering our community," says Oakton Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ileo Lott. ”By providing access to capital and business development counseling, training, and tools, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Oakton College positions us to assist populations that might not always have equitable access to this type of support."

The College received a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to support the Center on its Des Plaines campus. The Center is temporarily located in the College’s library but will move to a permanent location within the College. Oakton staff and independent experts provide in-person and virtual counseling sessions, training, technical assistance and informational tools to support start-ups and existing businesses.

The region is experiencing growing racial and ethnic diversity and an aging workforce, impacting area businesses and industry. In addition to meeting the demands caused by structural changes in the regional economy brought on by globalization and technological advances, existing businesses will need to adjust their approaches and pivot to meet the needs of a more diverse and aging workforce.

In addition, Oakton College’s district has a significantly higher-than-average foreign-born population. About 29% of the district’s population was born outside of the U.S., compared to 13% nationally and 13.8% statewide. According to a 2016 Harvard Business Review article, immigrants are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as native-born citizens. Additionally, the proximity to the city of Chicago and O’Hare International Airport makes the area an ideal location for small businesses.

Small Business Month — celebrated each year in May — provides an opportunity to recognize the value and impact of small businesses and small business owners. In addition, many organizations celebrate Small Business Day on May 10 by inviting community members to support local small businesses or learn how to start their businesses.

Do you have an idea for a business but need help accessing capital or developing a plan? Or, would you like to learn more about operations, financial management, personnel administration, marketing, export assistance, sales and other areas required for small business growth and expansion? Don’t wait to start or take your business to the next level; contact the SBDC at Oakton (sbdc@oakton.edu, 847.635.1645) or stop by Room 1415 (Library) at the Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road.