ECC to close Small Business Development Center Dec. 31
The Small Business Development Center at Elgin Community College will close at the end of this year as a result of insufficient state funding, which has impacted SBDCs throughout the state.
The SBDC at ECC, has been funded by a state grant since 2001. Over the last 15 years, the state provided approximately $1.6 million in funds, while the college invested $735,000 in matching funds, to provide services to the district's small businesses.
However, the college has had continue operations for the SBDC without state funding for more than one year.
"The SBDC program was intended to be a joint effort between the college and the state," said Sharon Konny, vice president of business and finance. "With the state in a financial crisis, the grant funds have ceased and the college cannot continue a quality program without grant support."
In addition, the college has not received funding for the college's Adult Basic Education program in two fiscal years.
Last December, the college began implementing numerous cost-cutting measures, including a travel freeze; a reduction in force; and a freeze on vacant positions, with the exception of those that involve security, safety and regulation, and student success.
The college has eliminated a total of 23 positions and has frozen 22 vacant positions for a cost savings of nearly $2 million.
Other cost reductions include, a decision by administrators to forego their increases for fiscal year 2017, a $400,000 a year savings as the result of negotiating favorable energy contracts, and another $1.5 million savings by deferring non-essential maintenance and capital projects for fiscal year 2017.
The SBDC, which has served businesses in District 509 for more than 30 years, will close Dec. 31, 2016. The college is exploring partnerships and opportunities to ensure that local small businesses in District 509 will continue to be served.