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Small Businesses in All Stages Will Benefit from WIU Grant

Michelle O'Neill
US IL Rep. Cheri Bustos presents a check to WIU officials at the WIU-QC campus Library.

Western Illinois University can now help even more small businesses.

Western Illinois University can now help even more small businesses. This afternoon (Thurs), Moline Congresswoman Cheri Bustos presented a 400-thousand-dollar check to the university's Small Business Development Center on the Quad Cities campus.

Dr. Chris Merrett oversees the center. And he says the grant will improve services to startups.

The $400,000 dollars will also help retain small businesses when owners are ready to sell or retire.

Existing small businesses will benefit, too. Merrett says they run into expensive administrative hurdles when trying to bid on local, state, and federal government contracts. So WIU's Small Business center will hire a consultant to help them navigate the procurement process.

Bustos says the source of the competitive grant is Community Project Funding. And many organizations in northwestern Illinois helped the university win the grant, including the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and similar groups in Whiteside and Knox counties.

Five years ago, Western opened the Small Business Development Center at the riverfront campus in Moline. A state grant helped it operate for the first year.

Western Illinois University Small Business Grant

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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