Attend Webinar On United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement

Join the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on December 6, 2018 for a FREE webinar on the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2018
Time: 11 AM – 1 PM
Location: Webinar

The United States recently reached an agreement with Mexico and Canada in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). While the United States, Mexico, and Canada have concluded a new agreement, NAFTA currently remains in effect. The USMCA can come into effect following the completion of TPA procedures, including a Congressional vote on an implementing bill. This webinar will focus on:

  • General overview of USMCA
  • Key elements
  • Differences from NAFTA
  • Implications for small businesses & how to prepare

This webinar is free to attend, but registration is required to secure a spot. RSVP by calling 217-378-8535 or by clicking here. Webinar instructions will be sent out closer to the date.

Decatur Celebrates Manufacturing Day Local High School Students Participate in Decatur's Third Annual Manufacturing Day Event

Approximately 225 students from Decatur’s MacArthur and Eisenhower High Schools and Heartland Tech Academy participated in Decatur’s Third Annual Manufacturing Days held on October 18th and 19th at Richland Community College in Decatur, IL.

The two-day event encouraged students to get a closer look at available manufacturing career paths through facility tours and talking with local manufacturers.

“Manufacturing Day provides local students the opportunity to see firsthand the available careers that manufacturing has to offer in Macon County,” said Andrew Taylor, Manufacturing Day event coordinator and economic development officer at Decatur EDC. “It’s great to see students interacting with real potential employers.”

Studies show that the U.S. will need to fill 3.5 million advanced manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years. Events like Decatur’s Manufacturing Days are coordinated in hopes that the next generation of manufacturers will become inspired for careers in manufacturing.

Manufacturing Days would not be a success without the help from the participating manufacturers (see list below), Richland Community College, DPS61, and the Heartland Tech Academy.

Air Caster LLC
Barton Manufacturing
Decatur Industrial Electric
DPS 61
Heartland Tech Academy
Huston Patterson
Mason Manufacturing
Mervis Industries
Midstate Electrical Training Center
Mueller Company
Richland Community College
Ring Container Technologies
SMART Local 218
Stripmasters Services, Inc.
T/CCI Manufacturing
UA Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Local 137
Union Iron
Voestalpine Nortrak
Workforce Investment Solutions

Thanks to our local media for covering the event:
Byers & Co.
Herald & Review

Illinois Small Business Development Center Open Office Hours

Do you have questions about start-up processes, marketing plans, market and customer research, or other small business topics? Join Director Don Elmore of the Illinois Small Business Development Center as he hosts open office hours at the Decatur EDC office:

  • Tuesday, October 23rd: 9 am to 12 pm
  • Thursday, November 15th: 1 pm to 4 pm
  • Tuesday, December 18th: 9 am to 12 pm

To schedule an appointment with Don, please email with your preferred date and time during these sessions.

EPL Bio Analytical Services, LLC joins the Tentamus global network of laboratories


The Tentamus Group today welcomes its newest family member: EPL Bio Analytical Services, (EPL BAS). Specialized in the group’s key competencies of agricultural science, the acquisition of EPL BAS further expands Tentamus’ global reach. Abgar Barseyten, CEO of Tentamus Group, says, “Our labs and offices throughout the world strive to deliver high-quality, regulatory, R&D and advisory services. Together with Symbiotic Research in New Jersey (USA), Renolab (Italy) we are truly a global market leader in agricultural science services with more than 200 highly-trained dedicated specialists.”

Robin King, CEO of EPL BAS, added, “Our long-term cooperation and working relationship binds Tentamus and EPL BAS together. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the Tentamus Group which will give us the chance to further develop and strengthen our ability to provide excellent testing services yet preserve a personalized service to our customers. Together with the existing expertise and knowledge within the Tentamus global network of laboratories, we are sure to meet all of the requirements of our customers and furthermore offer our staff a range of exciting career opportunities.”

“Decatur’s global presence grows with the addition of Tentamus to the community.  Their industry experience, resources and connections will bring great value to the Decatur economy,” said Ryan McCrady, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County.  Home to a $9 billion crop business, bio-seed products market, and a leading producer of corn and soy, Illinois has become a juggernaut in the bioscience and technology industry.  With a rich heritage of agriculture and food sciences, Decatur and Macon County is a major contributor to this industry in the state.

About EPL Bio Analytical Services

Since the company’s inception in 1987, EPL BAS has focused exclusively on agricultural science, building a reputation in the industry for quality, compliance, and customer service. At the core of the company is an outstanding team of more than 30 experienced scientific professionals with a passion for excellence. They provide the exemplary contract analytical laboratory services that local, national, and international clientele have come to expect from this leading laboratory facility.  For further information please visit

About Tentamus Group

Tentamus Group was founded a decade ago. Tentamus is a global product and safety group with a core presence in Europe, UK, Israel, Greater China, Japan and the USA. Accredited and licensed Tentamus Group tests, audits and consults on all products involving the human body. Tentamus Group is represented in over 50 locations worldwide. More than 2,500 highly-trained staff members work in over 1.5 million square feet of laboratory and office spaces.
For further information please visit


Robin King
CEO – EPL Bio Analytical Services
Phone: 1-866-963-2143

Dr. Yvonne Pfeifer
Tentamus Group GmbH
Phone: +49 162/230 26 39



Introduction to HTS/Schedule B Classification Workshop

Classification is one of the hardest parts of importing and exporting, and you may have some questions like: How do you know that the classifications used by your customs broker or freight forwarder are up-to-date? Do you know if you have any binding rulings with CBP? Do you know if there are similar products with binding rulings that you can review?

All of these questions and more will be answered during an upcoming workshop with the Illinois Small Business Development Center and presented by Mike Allocca of Allocca Enterprises.

Topics covered:

  • Understand how, why and when the Harmonized Tariff Schedule was created
  • Learn what the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) are and how they are used on every classification
  • Review the roles of a customs broker, freight forwarder and importer/exporter of record
  • Learn the difference between a Schedule B and HTS number
  • Understand how to use the CROSS Customs Rulings Online Search System
  • Review Chapter 98 for proper U.S. Goods returned/repairs/warranty classifications
  • Go through the abbreviations for commodity classification and units of quantity/measure
  • Determine the difference between duty, user fees, and antidumping/countervailing duties
  • Review instructor & CBP based specific classification examples

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Location: IHotel and Conference Center (Humanities Room) – 1900 S. First Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Cost: $150/person if you register before August 31st; $195/person starting September 1st.
RSVP: Registration and payment required to secure a spot – limited space available. Registration fee includes conference fees, materials, breakfast and lunch. RSVP online here or to Carly at

This workshop is eligible for 6 NASBITE-CGBP Re-Certification CEUs.

Upcoming SBDC Workshop on Networking

Join the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC)  on August 28, 2018 for a FREE workshop on Networking: Build Relationships, Build Your Brand, and Build Your Business.

Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Time: 12 – 1 PM
Location: EDC of Decatur – Macon County Office
(101 South Main Street, Suite 600 in Decatur)

Effective networking is about much more than meeting prospective clients or customers. You need relationships and access to expertise and other resources in your community because you can’t do it all yourself. Opportunities to promote your brand and refine your “elevator pitch” are invaluable. Of course, creating new relationships with customers and building your referral network will help your business grow.

We’ll discuss these topics and how you can put effective networking tactics to use in your community.

Limited space is available. RSVP to, call 217-378-8535, or click here. Lunch will be provided.

Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship Apply Now for the 7-Week Program

Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME) is a 7-week program that will assist aspiring entrepreneurs that want to launch their new business model. Applicants will bring their great idea, passion and drive, to harness their business mindset and creativity to start their own company.

Curriculum Summary:
Week 1- Foundation & Vision – Company Background, Determine Need, Financial Health Assessment
Week 2 – Foundation & Vision – Target Market and Intellectual Property
Week 3 – Marketing & Exposure – Marketing strategy, Branding and Promotional Strategies
Week 4 – Marketing & Exposure – Presentation Financial & Finesse Operations
Week 5 – Financial & Finesse – Pricing, Expenses Research
Week 6 – Financial & Finesse – Financial Statements
Week 7 – Final Presentation and Access to Capital Panel

Additional Benefits:

  • Financial Health Assessment – A loan pre-qualification assessment for each borrower to assess loan readiness
  • One-One-Session – Meeting with an attorney to assist with questions on your business
  • Access to Capital Panel – Presentation of your business to a panel of microlenders, banks, community lenders
  • The ADME Program is free; however, the application fee is $25 (non-refundable)

Cohort Locations:

SBDC Quad Cities
June 14, 2018 – July 26, 2018
Thursdays from 5PM – 8PM
Western Illinois University QC Campus
3300 River Drive
Complex C – Room 1418
Moline, Illinois

SBDC Far South
June 20, 2018 – August 8, 2018
Wednesdays from 5PM to 8PM
9923 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60628

SBDC Champaign
June 19, 2018 – July 31, 2018
Tuesdays from 5:30PM – 8:30 PM
Champaign Public Library (Business Center)
200 W. Green St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Application Period Opens: May 3, 2018
Application Deadline: May 31, 2018

Click here to download the ADME Program Application.


Celebrating Small Business Week

In celebration of National Small Business Week, we’re happy to share some exciting events and learning opportunities scheduled during the month of May. Check out the details of these events below.

Get Found on Google Search & Maps Workshop
The EDC is happy to partner with the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation to host a free workshop called “Get Found on Google Search & Maps and Grow Your Business Online.”

This workshop will teach you how to set up Google My Business, a free tool that helps manage information displayed to customers on Google Search and Maps. You will also learn how Google tools can help improve your presence online.

The workshop will be held on Friday, May 11th from 12 to 1:15 PM at the EDC of Decatur & Macon County office (101 South Main Street, Suite 600 in Decatur).

Stick around after the session until 3:30 PM for open office hours with SBDC’s Don Elmore.

To secure a spot, register here. Lunch will be provided.


Attend a Lender Forum Series
Need a refresher on the benefits of SBA loan guarantees? Attend an upcoming free event sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Illinois SBDC.

The event will be held on Wednesday, May 23rd and is hosted by the Decatur SCORE Chapter at the Decatur Club on 158 West Prairie Avenue in Decatur. To register, email Bethany Wetherholt at or call 217-424-6296. The event begins with check-in at 8:30 AM and runs from 9 to 11 AM.


Virtual Webinars
Can’t make it to the workshops listed above? Consider checking out these free virtual webinars on topics ranging from how to share your business story to managing finances to embracing customer complaints.

SBDC Workshop on Exports & Payment Methods

Join the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation on March 14, 2018 for a FREE workshop on Export Documentation and International Payment Methods.

Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Time: 12 – 1:30 PM
Location: Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC
(1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820)

The following topics will be covered:

  • Export Process Overview
    Identify Necessary External Service Providers
    Overview of a Freight Forwarder & Customs Broker
    Overview of Export Compliance
  • Typical Export Documentation
    Proforma Invoice
    Commercial Invoices
    Certificates of Origin
    Shipper’s Export Declaration
    Other Necessary Documents
  • International Methods of Payment
    Open Account
    Cash Against Documents
    Letters of Credit

Limited space available. RSVP to or call 217-378-8535. Lunch and materials will be provided.

Illinois Ranks Third in Governor’s Cup Awards

Chicago, March 5th, 2018 – Congratulations are in order for the state of Illinois and the combined work efforts of INTERSECT ILLINOIS, the statewide private economic development organization, and the states’ local economic development organizations! In the highly coveted Governor’s Cup rankings for 2017, Illinois ranked third in the country for total number of economic development projects.  The state’s continued pursuit of economic development excellence has yielded this esteemed ranking as well as year-over-year growth in total number of projects – for the 5th year in a row! In fact, Illinois has not placed outside the top ten in these rankings in over 20 years.

Per Site Selection Magazine, the Governor’s Cup ranks the 50 states according to their success in attracting capital investment projects that meet one or more of these three criteria: a minimum investment of US$1 million, creation of 50 or more new jobs, and new facility construction or floor space of at least 20,000 sq. ft. (1,860 sq. m.).

“Intersect Illinois is excited to have taken part in many of these deals. Our mission is to bring awareness to all Illinois has to offer: the transport infrastructure, central location, highly-educated workforce, venture capital and innovation, quality of life, etc.” states Mark Peterson, President and CEO. “We are eagerly pursuing each and every opportunity to bring jobs and investment to Illinois and our pipeline is growing. These rankings help us tell the story of why Illinois continues to be a global hub of business and investment. It’s time for Illinois to promote what we have to offer for a change. We are proud to be that voice.”



Intersect Illinois works in collaboration with multiple economic development organizations throughout the state. Focusing on the state of Illinois’ economic development efforts, Intersect Illinois was established as a private entity with greater flexibility to actively pursue prospects, and market Illinois.