The Starved Rock Country Alliance has announced the hiring of Amy Lambert as the new executive director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center. Lambert began work at the Alliance SBDC on June 26.
The Alliance SBDC director will coordinate one-to-one counseling with individuals interested in starting new enterprises as well as existing small businesses. In an innovative new model, the work of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Starved Rock Country Alliance will take on a decentralized approach. The Executive Director will actively pursue a presence across Bureau, LaSalle and Livingston counties by hosting office hours in Pontiac, Peru, Ottawa, Streator and Princeton.
Amy Lambert, a new resident to Starved Rock Country, was central to the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Peoria area. She was a co-founder of Startup Peoria (now StartupGP) assisting in the development of new business startups and establishing networking, training, and funding programs for local entrepreneurs. In 2015, Lambert was named Woman of Influence by InterBusiness Issues magazine for her work at Startup Peoria, as well as driving regional collaborations focused on growing immersive educational opportunities for girls in STEM, introducing sixth and seventh graders to programming and coding skills, and strengthening the economic impact of the region’s creative community. Lambert brings over 20 years of experience in leadership development, marketing, training design, and business acumen to the role.
“I am honored and elated to be driving a new outreach of assistance to this very important region of Illinois.” said Lambert. “A strong SBDC is crucial to the development and growth of business. I know how lucky we were [in Peoria] with the services and expertise that our startups could access through the SBDC hosted at Bradley University. I also know, as an entrepreneur, how difficult it can be when you can’t access their service due to time or physical limitations. I am excited about leading the team to deliver this vision and assistance out into the region.”
Across the state of Illinois, many regions have seen their higher education-based SBDC centers shuttered. This was the case of the previous SBDC at Illinois Valley Community College.
Recognizing the critical need for SBDC services, the leadership of the Starved Rock Country Alliance designed this new, decentralized model. The Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Starved Rock Country Alliance (aka Alliance SBDC) has been established as part of a statewide network with support from city and county governments, local banks and community businesses as well as the federal Small Business Administration and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Workshops and training will be co-hosted throughout the Starved Rock Country region. The first sessions of “How to Start a Business in Illinois” will begin being offered in August. Topics will range from financing, marketing, new products and services, to personnel management and employee recognition, customer service, information technology, insurance and other issues.
The organization is launching a website at alliancesbdc.org and has begun setting appointments for assistance and building a slate of mentors. If you are interested in starting a business, desire assistance as a small business owner, or could bring your expertise as a mentor, please contact Amy Lambert directly at email@example.com.