University of Illinois EDA University Center

The University of Illinois Economic Development Association (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. Small businesses south of I-80 can tap into this resource and have access to project assistance. Additionally, projects should have a referral partner within the defined geographic, downstate region.


Submit a Small Business Assistance Application.

EDA Services

  • Small Business Assistance for qualified entrepreneurs through the Shared Services program. This assists entrepreneurs with short-term projects related to marketing, business development, branding, and communications.
  • Expertise from the University of Illinois Department of Urban Planning and EnterpriseWorks incubator to provide assistance to communities seeking to strengthen their entrepreneurial ecosystem and add resources for startup companies. Assistance can be in the form of site visits, sharing of best practices from other comparable communities, and feasibility planning for new programs.

Types of Projects

  • Company name search
  • Defined market research and assessment
  • Logo design and visual branding
  • Pitch deck review
  • Social media strategy review
  • Website development

Referral Partners

  • An incubator
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
  • International Trade Center (ITC)
  • Illinois University Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
  • University of Illinois Extension Offices

Previous Projects

View recent projects completed through this program.

Market Research
  • B&A Services Competitor Analysis and Customer Base Enhancement Research (Summer 2019)
  • Jeff's Design Shed Business Renaming and Rebranding (now Bespoke Gift Co.) (Summer 2019)
  • Pack to Fit Industry Analysis (Summer 2019)
  • Thirsty's Taproom Industry Analysis (Summer 2019)
Social Media Strategy
  • Streator Incubator Social Media Post Creation (Spring 2020)

Streator Incubator_Survey Graphic

Visual Branding
  • Blue Line Distribution Logo (Summer 2020)

Blue Line Distribution Logo_Full Color

Corporate Kin_Primary_Logo_Full-Color

  • B&A Services (Spring 2020)

B&A Services_Full Color Logo

  • LMK Innovation logo (Fall 2019)

LMK Innovation_Full Color Logo

  • Dan McDaniel Management logo (Fall 2019)

Dan McDaniel Management_Navy logo

Website Development

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.

Cheri Soliday
Outreach Coordinator, Incubation and Entrepreneurship

Cheri coordinates projects related to the EDA funded programs.