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Illinois SBDC at the Women’s Business Development Center receives 2017 Illinois SBDC Excellence & Innovation Award

Hands-on training, customized to the client’s unique needs, has made the Illinois SBDC at the Women’s Business Development Center a trusted and frequently-visited resource for Chicago small business owners. In testimonials from businesses as diverse as a tech start-up, a music company, and a home organizer, the value is clear: the SBDC staff members are candid, encouraging coaches well prepared to share their technical skills with entrepreneurs. The SBA has recognized these accomplishments and presented the Illinois SBDC at the Women’s Business Development Center with its 2017 Illinois SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award.


SBDC Director Karen Goldner and Director of Entrepreneurial Programs Meg Herman together provide programming that not only has an economic impact, but also helps clients bring their products to the market and realize their dreams. They listen closely to what small business owners want and need and are flexible when it comes to adjusting their services to better suit their audience.


Karen and Meg have developed strong relationships with representatives from the SBA District Office, other resource partners and SBDCs, and lending institutions. This allows them to support other services, instead of duplicate them. “Meg knows that in a sea of well-intentioned business support services, her unique strength is in holding her entrepreneurs accountable to their goals,” said Kyle Johnson, Director of Microlending at Accion Chicago. “She is the shining example of the power one person can make in the life of another, and in Meg’s case she has impacted thousands.”


The center’s impact can also be measured quantitatively. Its programming has generated 24 business starts, created 93 jobs, and helped secure $2.3 million in debt and equity financing in the past year. Nearly 700 clients were advised in 2016.

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Illinois SBDC at the Women’s Business Development Center
Chicago, Illinois