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Madison County, Leadership Council to host Nov. 1 small business seminar

Are you interested in starting a business? Are you already in business and want to know more? If so, then this event is for you.

Madison County and the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois are hosting a “Small Business Seminar: From Startup to Succession” from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville.

The event will include small business owners sharing their stories of how they got started and their successes, but also feature experts from the state and the private sector.

“It’s different people with different stories, but the goal is the same,” HOME/Economic Development Program Coordinator Holly Klausing said. “How to get started on becoming a small business owner/entrepreneur.”

Klausing said the goal of the event is to provide people with the tools and information they need to start a business, as well as become and stay successful.

The programs featured speakers will include Illinois State Senator Erica Harriss and County Clerk Linda Andreas, both of whom are small business owners. Harriss owns Saving Grace, an e-commerce company, and Andreas operates a women’s boutique — Granny’s Loft Centric in Collinsville.

The event will also include presentations by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Intersect Illinois, Small Business Development Center/SCORE; Archford Capital and Great Rivers & Routes.

  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will provide information about their confidential business guidance opportunities, training, and other resources for start-ups and existing small businesses.
  • Intersect Illinois will share information, resources, and services needed to make the important investment decision to start a business.
  • The SBDC will share information about how it can help as well as lenders in the region that can assist you with loan programs. The SBA Score Business Mentoring Program and SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses plan, launch, manage and grow.
  • Archford Capital will present information on financial objectives, developing a blueprint, implementing your blueprint and providing ongoing evaluation. They will also discuss succession plans in business.
  • Great Rivers & Routes will highlight how small business drives tourism in the region.

Following the speakers and presentations there will also be a small business owner panel that includes: Andrew Mayhall, with 3D Gloop!; Tapiwa Murepeki, owner/founder of JewelRide; Kristen Burns, Budget Signs, Trophies & Plaques in Wood River; Brenda Whitaker, multi-business owner in downtown Granite City and founder of Alfresco Arts Center; and Benjamin Golley, owner of Today’s Beauty Supply in Alton, who was also featured on the show “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” in 2018.

Informational tables will be set up by various vendors to include everything from banking to real estate and insurance, as well as the Madison County Health Department for anyone who is considering opening a restaurant or food establishment.

“This event is to provide people with everything they need ‘from start up to succession,’” Klausing said.

Klausing said the majority of businesses in Madison County communities are small businesses.

“As far as the county goes, we want to show we are just as interested in bringing small businesses to our communities as we are big box and other chain establishments,” she said.

She said the event is free and open to the public, however registration is required.

She said table sponsorships are also available for business to share info that may benefit a new business or an existing business.

Visit to reserve your seat or sponsor a table. For more questions contact Klausing at or call (618) 296-4247.

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