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Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Business Advisors’ Council

There is a new player in town ready to assist existing and start up small businesses. We are the Business Advisors’ Council operating under the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. Formerly doing business as ECI-SCORE, we transitioned to the BAC in April 2017, in order to provide a more customized and local approach to the businesses with which we work. Our focus is to help start new businesses, create jobs and grow the local economy.

BAC offers the following services:

- One-on-one advisors

- Free workshops

- Customized training and advisory panels

- A free pass to “Business After Hours”

- Reduced rate for the first year for an annual membership with the Chamber of Commerce

Our Advisors are seasoned business professionals who will assist you with your start-up or your existing business. BAC offers guidance in a wide variety of practices – incorporation, marketing, business planning and strategies, growth and sales, accounting and finance, and nonprofits. It’s simple to apply for free and confidential sessions with an Advisor. You simply make a request online, by telephone or in person at the Chamber office. Requests are matched and assigned to an Advisor best able to help your particular business needs. In some cases, several advisors may team up to review your business plans and offer suggestions for going forward.

We offer four free workshops throughout the year. You can enroll in one course or in all four depending on your needs. Take a workshop in Starting a New Business, Writing a Business Plan, Financing Your Business, or Starting A Nonprofit. The workshops guide you through the steps of opening a business and also identify local resources that can make your path smoother and give you a solid foundation on which to start your company.

We can also help you identify and customize training for your business. And, if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, our experienced Advisors can work with you as an independent advisory panel to help you explore and work through the challenges of expansion.

Connecting with others and sharing resources is a great benefit to entrepreneurs. Today’s businesses network in a variety of ways: online (LinkedIn), and through service and professional clubs such as Rotary or Executive Club of Champaign County. Many successful business owners find it invaluable to network in person. Your BAC Advisor will provide you with a free pass to attend Business After Hours, held the third Thursday of every month. There you will meet other small business owners who use this opportunity to meet people, share experiences, best practices, resources, and tips. You will be amazed at how much you can learn that you may be able to apply to your own company operations.

And if you register your business as a member of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce your first year membership fee is discounted 77 percent, once you have received counseling from the BAC or other economic development organization. Other Chamber membership perks include First Friday Coffees, Connect@Lunch, workshop development programs, webinars, and members-only marketing opportunities.

So if you’re ready to start exploring a business opportunity or if you’re interested in joining our cutting edge team of advisors, you can find the Business Advisors’ Council on the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce website at: champaigncounty.org/economicdevelopment/business_advisors'_council.aspx. Or contact Mindy Cain for more information: mindyc@champaigncounty.org.

Emmie Fisher co-founded and was president and CEO of DEMACO, Inc., a cutting-edge software development firm. Her areas of expertise include corporate and strategic planning, business and policy development, human resources, government contracting, nonprofit board development, and volunteer management. She currently serves as an advisor and workshop facilitator for the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Business Advisors’ Council.

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