EnterpriseWorks Awarded University Center Grant For Downstate Illinois Entrepreneurial Development

Categories : EnterpriseWorks, Investments
Posted on: February 2, 2017

February 1, 2017
Laura Weisskopf Bleill,
[email protected]; 217-244-7744

EnterpriseWorks Awarded University Center Grant For Downstate Illinois Entrepreneurial Development

Will Provide Direct Technical and Business Assistance For Entrepreneurs South of I-80

CHAMPAIGN,  Ill., February 1, 2017 – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s EnterpriseWorks incubator has been awarded a University Center Grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) to provide direct assistance to downstate Illinois entrepreneurs. The EDA University Center Grant awards EnterpriseWorks $54,000 annually over five years for a total of $270,000. This is the second five-year University Center Grant EnterpriseWorks has been awarded by the EDA.

EnterpriseWorks and the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign are a part of a peer network of centers across the United States focused on utilizing the skills and talents from universities to provide business assistance to further grow the economy. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was one of 24 colleges and universities recently awarded funding from the EDA University Center program, which also includes the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will utilize the grant funding to provide direct technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses referred by partnering incubators, SBDC programs, PTAC offices, ITCs, University of Illinois Extension offices, or higher education entrepreneurial programs.  Eligible participants will be located in Illinois communities south of Interstate 80.

As part of the University Center program, technical and business assistance will be provided by teams of University of Illinois students who will engage in market research, competitive assessment, design, and technical consultation, among other activities.  This provides University of Illinois students with experiential learning opportunities to apply knowledge they have acquired in the classroom.

Preliminary work has begun on the project with efforts ramping up over the next several months. The University of Illinois has hired an experienced entrepreneur to lead the center along with the EnterpriseWorks team. Interested participants in the program may contact Marissa Siero at [email protected].

In addition to the EDA University Center Grant, EnterpriseWorks has also been awarded an EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance grant to help university-based incubators and enterpreneurship in 10 Illinois counties.


See what Director Laura Frerichs and project coordinator Marissa Siero have to say about the grant on WCIA.

Read ChicagoInno’s coverage here and the News-Gazette’s coverage here.