Farm field
December 18, 2019

There is a lot of discussion surrounding the Agricultural Economy right now and its potential impact on both farmers and rural communities.  In late summer 2019, the American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac collaborated on a survey.  Over 450 bank managers, executives and Ag Lenders participated from across the nation.  Bank size ranged from under $50 Million in assets to over $5 Billion.

Using calculator at desk
March 19, 2020

Many small business owners, especially those required to close, are wondering how to finance their businesses during these difficult times. This series, Financial First Aid, will provide accurate and credible information for small business owners attempting to navigate through hard times.

US Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Loans

Using calculator at desk
March 20, 2020

UPDATE:  The State of Illinois has received a federal disaster designation, allowing Illinois businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis to apply for low-interest loans from the US Small Business Administration.

March 23, 2020

Updates from the SBA webinars

SBA is encouraging small businesses and nonprofits interested in the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to apply as soon as possible. The loans are first come, first served. Applicants can ask for an increase later if additional funds are needed. The webinar covered the following points:

Using calculator at desk
March 26, 2020

Illinois has announced $14 million for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. Grant funds are available to support working capital, such as payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, such as increased pick-up and delivery.

What types of businesses are eligible?

April 02, 2020
photo of downtown

Rural community and economic development professionals are working furiously to share the latest information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 13, 2020

Overwhelmed, inundated, backlogged. These are just a few of the words employees, employers, government officials, and community leaders are using to describe working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 17, 2020

Life has been doling out lemons to our small, locally owned businesses, so they are busy making lemonade. While social distancing, they are thinking outside the box, engaging through social media, transitioning to online shopping, and identifying new ways to interact with their customers. They are resilient!

April 22, 2020

During the past several weeks, families and businesses around the country have endured tragic loss of human life, modified their way of life, and lost vital economic resources. Many of us stay at home “doing our part” not to risk exposure and illness that might further burden our hospitals, as others work to save lives and provide needed food and products.

June 02, 2020

As local restaurants prepare to reopen in Illinois, a taped webinar from Part 1 of Scaling Up Illinois Restaurant Operations: Financial Considerations held on May 28, 2020 is now available.

Restaurant staff in front of window.
June 03, 2020

Local eateries, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and coffee shops are the social and economic lifeblood of many Illinois communities. Following the stretch of statewide shutdowns that began in late March, residents may be eager to see their favorite food and drink establishments reopen and employees return to work.

June 08, 2020

The Scaling Up Restaurant Operations: Safety Considerations webinar held on June 2, 2020 is now available in archive format.

Photo of Michelle Sirles with farmer t-shirt
June 18, 2020

In the last few months, there is a good chance you might have seen someone wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “farmers are my kinda people.” This is one of the latest designs from Rendleman Orchards of Alto Pass. Their locally-grown-and-farm-themed t-shirts are popular, but their latest trademarked design has taken the country by storm. In just under 90 days, the shirt has been shipped to 49 states.