Contractors can help area entrepreneurs craft a business plan or aid them and offer advise in aspects such as advertising.
Alexander said the local center tries to find an expect in each of the major areas pertaining to properly running a business. He said some entrepreneurs use them as a sort of business coach, for others it is program based.
He added that the center worked with 275 businesses during the last fiscal year, which in turn created 133 jobs. He said with a budget of $250,000, it makes them one of the smaller business development centers in the state if not the smallest.
It serves businesses for free in Clark and Champaign Counties, but a majority of those that utilizes the center’s services are located in Springfield.
“The (Small Business Development Center) is just one part, but an important one, in the entrepreneurial eco-system. We have to have an environment to nourish them,” Alexander said.
He said that the center has also participated in several programs that were rolled out last year. That includes Springfield Hustles, a “Shark Tank” style competition, that aims to give a boost to local entrepreneurs who either already had a business or were looking to start one.
Another one includes the Leadership Academy that worked with those between 18 and 24 years-old, who are on some form of public assistance but show leadership potential.
Alexander said the center worked with a group of 12 people, who were enrolled in the program, for a period of 12 weeks.