2023 Webinar Series

New & Updated State Initiatives for Businesses

Thursday, March 30 @ 10:30 a.m.

Register Here

Recent legislative changes to a variety of Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) business programs are aimed to help businesses access capital and assist them in expanding their workforce and start-up activity.

Register to hear updates on the State Small Business Credit Initiative from Sean Pritchard, Assistant Deputy Director for the DCEO Office of Business Development, and Business development program changes from Kala Lambert, Southeast Region Manager fo rthe DCEO Regional Economic Development Team.

Updated program information includes:

– Advantage Illinois

– Reimaging Energy and Vehicles Act

– Economic Development for a Growing Economy

– Manufacturing Illinois Chips for a Real Opportunity

– Enterprise Zones and High Impact Businesses

Back to Business (B2B) Grants for Restaurants, Hotels & Creative Arts

Wednesday, March 22 @ 10 a.m.

See the Recording Here

Through the Back to Business (B2B) program, the State of Illinois is offering $175 million in grants for businesses in industries hardest-hit by the pandemic, specifically, restaurants, hotels and businesses in the creative arts industry. Applications are open from April 5, 2023 – May 10, 2023

Presentation Slides

Business Solutions & Support for Child Care Businesses

Thursday, February 23 @ 2 p.m.

See the Recording Here
Child care businesses, whether licensed in home family providers or centers, are foundational to a community’s present and future economic success.
The Women’s Business Development Center, a nationally recognized leader in the field of women’s business development and economic empowerment, and Lake Land College’s Center for Business and Industry, experienced in the coordination of successful Apprenticeships, both have programs that can help.
Blanca Berthier, Managing Director, Entrepreneurial Business Program and Services, Division I for the Women’s Business Development Center will highlight the free resources that they have available to child care business owners.
Brad Jansen, Owner, and Hannah Roberson, Director of Operations of Montessori Kids Universe, Effingham and Bonnie Moore, Director, Center of Business and Technology at Lake Land College will explain how their new child care apprenticeship process will benefit both current workforce and new employees.
Learn more about the Women’s Business Development Center here

Economic Development Tools to Build Your Community

Thursday, January 26 @ 10:30 a.m.

See the Recording Here

Understanding and utilizing economic development tools like Tax Increment Financing Districts, Business Districts and Enterprise Zones is key to growing successful communities.  

Adam Stroud, Senior Project Manager with PGAV Planners, a community planning consulting firm in St. Louis, led the discussion about how resources like TIF, Business Districts and Enterprise Zones can work together to create lasting community assets.

Todd Hull, City of Effingham Economic Development Director Brittny Gipson, Dieterich Village Clerk shared regional examples of how these leveraging Tax Increment Financing, Business Districts and Enterprise Zones have strengthened and grown their community’s residential, industrial and commercial systems.

Materials shared:

Presentation Slides

Supplementary Materials

Q&A from Webinar


2022 Webinar Series

Hometown Holiday Happenings

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 at Noon

See the recording here

Celebrate and shop local this December!  Attendees learned about all the hometown holiday events planned across our Business Navigators region – check out the presentation slides to see holiday events from across the Clark, Coles, Crawford, Edgar, Effingham & Moultrie Counties.

National Women’s Small Business Month

Thursday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.

See the full recording here
See the panel discussion recording here

Michelle Lura White with the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) set the stage for our panel discussion with women business owners from across our Business Navigators region. Guest panelists included:  Resa Shaner, Leslie Tarble, Robin Trapp and Cathrine Craig.

Learn more about the State of Illinois Business Enterprise Program that helps foster an inclusive, equitable and competitive business environment supporting underrepresented businesses.

See the certification process here.

Energy Webinar

Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at 2 p.m.

See the recording here

Increases in energy prices have been top of mind for businesses and residents alike across Southcentral and Southeastern Illinois. 

The Business Navigator Alliance of Southcentral and Southeastern Illinois hosted a webinar to dive into this topic and welcome presenters Mark Pruitt, Principal of the Power Bureau, consulting firm that provides energy commodity procurement and planning services to small and mid-sized organizations, guided us through a macro view of the energy sector from a global standpoint down to a state and regional perspective, Brian Bradley with North American Lighting, Scott Eyman and Jeff Alvey with AGCO who shared their insights into how businesses best adjust to the increased energy costs as well.

Attendees also learned possible short-term and long-term energy solutions as well as new tax available credits through the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Materials shared:

Mark Pruitt presentation – the Power Bureau

Brian Bradley presentation – North American Lighting

Scott Eyman and Jeff Alvey presentation – AGCO

State of the Region

Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.

See the recording here

The Business Navigator Alliance of Southcentral and Southeastern Illinois is hosting a State of the Region webinar on August 25th. We have assembled a panel of experts to guide us through this regional outlook.  Attendees will hear presentations on economic indicators and the real estate market from a national to regional level.  Then we will dive into a review of state awarded grants, throughout the region, over the past 18-months.

The webinar was held Thursday, August 25th @ 10:30 a.m. with the following presenters: Rick Parks, President of the First National Bank of Waterloo; Matt Forcum with Shelby Realty and Kala Lambert with Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Materials shared:

Presentation Slides

State of the Region Follow Up Document – Matt Forcum, Shelby Realty

www.illinois.gov/dceo & www.illinois.grant.govKala Lambert, Southeast Regional Manager, Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Local Business Resilience 

Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 2 p.m.

See recording here

The Business Navigator Alliance of Southcentral and Southeastern Illinois is hosting a three-part webinar series on Business Resiliency. During this series we will connect with local businesses to learn about the changes and pivots that were implemented during the pandemic. 

The first webinar in the series focuses on increased customer engagement through exceptional customer service.  

Directors from Effingham Performance Center, the Marshall Gaslight Art Colony and Paris Center of the Fine Arts will share how exceptional customer service played a critical role in maintaining engagement during the pandemic and its ever-increasing importance overall.

Customer Service Expert and Trainer Dawn Mushill will also share best customer services practices. 

Materials shared:

Presentation Slides

Action Plans

Local Apprenticeships

Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.

See the recording here

The sixth webinar in the series will feature Nate Carlson, the new Apprenticeship Navigator serving southcentral and southeastern Illinois and Jamie Corda-Hadjaoui, Director of Workforce Development Investment for the Local Workforce Investment Area 23.

Attendees learned how Mr. Carlson works with local companies to establish apprenticeships.  He also detailed responsibilities and benefits of pre-apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and registered apprenticeship programs.  

Ms. Corda-Hadjaoui reviewed training assistance programs offered by the State through the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) and how they can work with apprenticeships.  Programs covered will include On-the-Job Training, Incumbent Worker Training, and Youth Work Experience.  

Regional Childcare Initiatives

Thursday, May 26 @ 10:30 a.m.

See the recording here
See Matt Cekander’s Presentation – Child Care Tax Credits

Hear from local business Stevens Industries as they prepare to launch on-site childcare services for their employees.  Jeff Andrews, President of Business of Childcare, will discuss the current state of childcare in our region and share how he helps communities act toward addressing challenges.  Matt Cekander, CPA, Doehring, Winders & Co. LLP will review potential childcare tax credits available to business and their employees.

Online Webinar – Housing Development

Thursday, Apr. 28 @ 10:30 a.m.

See the recording here

Learn about incentive programs offered through the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The Mayor of Paris, Illinois, and a representative from Laborer’s Home Development Corporation will give insights into their recent housing development projects.  

Apprenticeships Webinar 

Thursday, Mar. 31 @ 10:30 a.m.

See the recording here 

Attendees learned more about Apprenticeship Navigator Service provided by Lake Land College, Apprenticeships 101 with a local employer’s experience, LIFT – Leaders Innovating for Tomorrow and ERCA – Effingham Regional Career Academy.

Introduction to Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

Thurs. Feb. 24 @ 2 p.m.

See the recording here


Panelists included: Don Elmore with Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC and Kala Lambert with DCEO.

Materials shared: SBDC Presentation Handout – 2.24.22 and DCEO Presentation Handout – 2.24.22

For further information:

Don Elmore, Director at Champaign County EDC

don@cusbdc.org or 217-378-8535

Mariel Huasanga, Director – International Trade Center, IL SBDC at Champaign County EDC

mariel@cusbdc.org or 217-378-8535

Partners of SBDC:

ITC – International Trade Center https://www.intracen.org/

SBA – Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/

DCEO – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity https://www.illinois.gov/dceo

PTAC – Procurement Technical Assistance Center https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/BeginHere/Pages/PTAC.aspx

IL SBDC at Champaign County EDC www.cusbdc.org

Bridge Virtual Incubator www.bridgeincubator.com

Kala L. Lambert, Southeast Region Manager, Regional Economic Development

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

203 East 3rd Street, Suite 2

Centralia, IL 62801

C:  (217) 836-8376


Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity www.illinois.gov/dceo

Advantage Illinois

Edge Overview 

EZ Overview for Business

Illinois Apprenticeship Education Expense Tax Credit

Illinois Research & Development Tax Credit

LWIA 23 Service Menu


Access Capital for Your Business

Thurs. Jan. 27 @ 10:30 a.m.

See the recording here


Panelists included: Lora Bergfeld and John Vitale with the SBA Department at Midland States Bank, Mary Warren with the USDA Office of Rural Development and John Hill and Mark Schultz with Office of Business Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.


Materials shared included:  Small Business Presentation with Midland (slides), Small Business Association – Midland FlyerAdvantage Illinois Presentation (slides), Advantage Illinois FAME, Advantage Illinois – Approved Lenders 12.10.21, USDA RD Presentation (slides),


Further resources shared in the webinar:

SBA 7a

SBA 504

SBA Microloans

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

Women’s Business Centers (WBC)

Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC)

Effingham Public Library

USDA RD Business Programs

Advantage Illinois


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