University of Illinois EDA University Center

The University of Illinois EDA University Center exists to promote and foster entrepreneurship in Illinois south of Interstate-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:

  • University of Illinois EDA University Center Small Business Assistance for qualified entrepreneurs. The University of Illinois EDA University Center Small Business Assistance assists entrepreneurs 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. 

    • For consideration, fill out a FORM HERE.

  • 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. 

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

Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR)

EnterpriseWorks at the Research Park created an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program that hires experienced entrepreneurs to provide consulting to new startup ventures and prospective entrepreneurs on a part time basis. The EIR program is now expanding as part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center at EnterpriseWorks and will be serving entrepreneurs in downstate Illinois, located south of I-80.

We are currently looking for a part time Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) to counsel small businesses and entrepreneurs as part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center at EnterpriseWorks at the Research Park.  The Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) would be available via appointment for any small business owner or entrepreneur located South of I-80 who applies through their referral partner (referral partners are local SBDCs, SBAs, EDCs, Illinois Extension Office or University Incubator located South of I-80).

Ideal candidates would be experienced entrepreneurs, with experience building companies, fundraising, developing, manufacturing, and selling products, sales, marketing, navigating sales and acquisitions. Candidates would have experience mentoring or coaching small businesses and entrepreneurs. Candidates would reside South of I-80 in Central or Southern Illinois.

The EIR would provide business consulting, strategy assistance, marketing and communication help, investor preparedness, or other startup consultation to startups South of I-80 either in person, conference calls, and  /  skype or web based meetings. This is a part time position. Travel is not required.  

Interested candidates can submit their cover letter and resume to Cynthia Faullin,