Small Business Development Center to recruit more minority, female clients

Small Business Development Center to recruit more minority, female clients

CHAMPAIGN — The county's Small Business Development Center is trying to recruit more minority and female clients.

Don Elmore, SBDC director, presented an update on his organization's work to the city council on Tuesday. The center, which exists under the county's Economic Development Corp., provides free consulting and advising services to businesses ranging from one employee to employees in the low hundreds.

Elmore said from 2013 to now, the center's Champaign clients have been 17.6 percent minority-owned businesses and 20.9 percent women-owned businesses.

To increase those numbers, Elmore said, he'll being doing outreach focused on individual neighborhoods. He said this will involve going to neighborhood associations, the Champaign Community Coalition, city councils and the county board.

"We want to get a tighter focus on what opportunities or events are there for us to reach people who don't know about us," Elmore said.

In other business, the council approved a meeting to discuss Bradley Avenue, between McKinley and Prospect, after that area saw two deaths within the past year. Both involved elderly persons crossing the street and getting hit by a vehicle.

Marjorie Roberts, 76, was looking for her dog when she was hit last December. Robert Milligan, 67, was crossing the 900 block of Bradley last Tuesday when he was hit, according to Champaign police Lt. Bruce Ramseyer.

"There's a little bit of a rise in that road where you can't really see what's coming," council member Greg Stock said.

Council member Clarissa Nickerson Fourman requested the meeting happen as soon as possible.

"It's an issue of increasing pedestrian safety," Fourman said, noting that additional street signal lights and signage may be needed.