University of Illinois EDA University Center

The University of Illinois EDA University Center exists to promote and foster entrepreneurship in downstate Illinois south of I-80. The program's mission is to create a growing pipeline of long-term innovative and vibrant business activity within the region through entrepreneur education, startup assistance, incubation and growth support and investment.  

The University of Illinois EDA University Center’s offerings include:

  • Expertise from the University of Illinois Department of Urban Planning along with EnterpriseWorks incubator to provide assistance to communities seeking to strengthen their entrepreneurial ecosystem and add resources for startup companies. Assistance to communities will include site visits, sharing of best practices from other comparable communities, and feasibility planning for new programs.  

  • Shared Services Program support for qualified entrepreneurs. The Shared Services Program assists incubator clients with short-term projects related to marketing, business development, branding, and communications. These projects are completed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students who are hired and managed by EnterpriseWorks. Small businesses south of I-80 can tap into this resource and have access project assistance. Projects will be awarded after a simple application/nomination process, and preference will be given to those projects that can be done within the parameters we have established. Projects should have a referral partner within the defined geographic downstate region  from one of the following sources: an incubator, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), International Trade Center (ITC), or the Illinois University Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), or University of Illinois Extension Offices. Project examples include logo design and visual branding; business development projects, such as defined market research and assessment and pitch deck review; and communications/social media projects, such as company name search and social media strategy review.

This program is supported by federal grant funding from the United States Economic Development Administration. For more information, please contact Marissa Siero at siebel2@illinois.edu or 217-333-8324.