Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Most Successful Franchises to Own

Been thinking about starting your own business by buying a franchise?  Here is a link to a Forbes Magazine article listing the most successful franchises in the US.  Many on the list are familiar names, like McDonald's and Panera Bakery.  Others can be started for under $75,000.  Franchises are a great way to own your own business because they come with sales and marketing support, as well as a thoroughly developed business model.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GLCEDC Joins the Midwest Food Processors Association

In order to gain the invaluable contacts to ultimately lead to bringing a food processing plant to Livingston County, the GLCEDC joined the Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA).  The GLCEDC will use this trade group to attend conferences and build connections.  A food processing plant in the Livingston area will provide necessary jobs to residents as well as diversifying employers and industries within the county. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Save Dwight Correctional Center

As you all have probably heard, the Dwight Correctional Center is being proposed to be closed as part of the Governor's 2013 Budget.  In response, a meeting was held today in which many elected officials, civic leaders, and AFSCME officials. In the meeting, we discussed a plan of action, created an email distribution list, and formed a smaller committee that will be assigned specific tasks to perform in creating the action plan.

The GLCEDC will be responsible for measuring the financial impact of the closure on the regional and local economy, as well as on our local businesses.  We have already performed a cursory impact analysis and the loss of the 350 jobs translates into a $25 million annual impact on the three county region (Grundy, Livingston & Kankakee).  We will refine this number and measure the spillover, or ripple, effects as we get more specific residency information for the prison employees.

A community meeting has been scheduled for Monday March 5 at 6:00 p.m. at Dwight Township High School.

I just wanted you to know that a plan of action is being put together and that the GLCEDC will be wholeheartedly supporting the effort to keep the facility open by providing facts and data regarding the economic impact of the closure.  I am also reaching out to my economic development colleagues in Grundy and Kankakee Counties.  Both have offered their support for this cause.

I will do my best to keep you posted along the way.  A Facebook page called, "Save Dwight Correctional Center" has been created.  Much of the information regarding our efforts will be posted there.  Our blog will also be updated regularly with the latest information.  Petitions are also being circulated throughout the County.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Executive Committee Elects Officers

A new Chairman and Vice-Chairman were elected at the February 16 Executive Committee meeting. Mr. Dave Ochs, President/CEO of OSF St. James Medical Center, was elected to the position of Chairman and Mr. Terry Sullivan, Managing Broker of Lyons-Sullivan Realty, was elected as Vice-Chair. Kevin McNamara, Village Administrator of Dwight, remains Secretary/Treasurer. The officers will hold their positions until January 2013, when their terms expire and new Executive Committee members will be elected by the Board of Directors.

Other Executive Committee members now include: John Ward, Caterpillar, Inc., Mayor Bob Bradford, Village of Saunemin, Roger Corrigan, 1st Financial Bank, Scott Bauknecht, State Bank of Graymont, Mike McCoy, McCoy Construction, Glen Ludwig, Creative Ag Solutions, Mike Cohlman, Champion Fitness, Mayor Jim Gulliford, Village of Forrest, and Chairman Bill Fairfield, Livingston County Board.

The Officers and the Executive Committee look forward to leading the GLCEDC in 2012 in order to bring economic development opportunities to Livingston County and assist local businesses grow and expand their operations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Size Up Your Business

If you are like most small business owners, you probably have wondered how your business measures up to your competition down the street or to a similar business you visit on vacation.  Well, the creators of the website makes it easy (and free) for you to find out.  Size up your business to gain a better understanding of how much market share your business is missing out on.  You could also confirm (hopefully) that you are at the top of the pack!  Thinking about opening a new business?  This website can help you determine the optimum location for you new venture.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

EnterpriseU Entrepreneurs Boot Camp & Business Plan Competition

The Small Business Development Center of Kankakee Community College (KCC), the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, and the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council (GLCEDC) is hosting the second annual EnterpriseU Entrepreneurs Boot Camp & Business Plan Competition.  The competition will be held from February—June 2012. The initiative includes a formal business plan competition, an accompanying coursework series crafted by KCC's Small Business Development Center, and special community and business events centered around the ideas of developing talent and building business opportunities from the ground up!  EnterpriseU contestants will receive free access to a coursework series developed by Kankakee Community College's Small Business Development Center:
·         Pre-Business Workshop
·         Business Plan Writing Workshop
·         Business Recordkeeping
·         Legal Issues in Business
·         Business Marketing
·         How to Apply for a Small Business Loan
All new businesses as well as existing businesses expanding into new product markets are welcome to participate in the 2-month EnterpriseU Boot Camp, which includes access to business plan mentoring, applicable coursework and several special events.  Winners will be determined based on the quality of their business plans and Kankakee and Livingston Counties will each have their own winners.  

The EnterpriseU kickoff meeting will take place Tuesday, February 21st at KCC with the winners to be determined in mid-June. Last year's competition had over 40 participants just from Kankakee.  The hosts hope that by including Livingston County entrepreneurs, they will increase the total number of participants and lead to a growing regional concentration of successful locally-owned small businesses.
For details, visit or contact the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council at 815-842-2900.

ComEd Smart Ideas Portfolio Helps Businesses Become More Energy Efficient

In today’s economy, business owners and operators have to be more conscious of their bottom line than ever before. ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business® program offers business customers a portfolio of incentives, tools and tips to help implement energy saving technologies that can reduce energy use and lower electricity bills.

ComEd’s Smart Ideas program provides incentives for both routine improvements and large scale projects to meet a building’s complex operations. These incentives help businesses analyze their energy using systems and compressed-air systems and encourage the integration of energy efficient features that surpass standard, new construction requirements.

From June 2008 through May 31, 2011, ComEd’s Smart Ideas program provided $74,000 in incentives to 16 energy-efficiency projects in Livingston County. These projects are expected to save approximately 970,000 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) in electricity.

Overall, ComEd’s Smart Ideas program has provided more than $46 million in incentives to encourage commercial and industrial business customers to implement energy saving technologies that use electricity more efficiently, reduce electricity consumption and save money. This effort has helped more than 5,500 northern Illinois businesses save more than $65 million in electricity costs.

The current Smart Ideas program year runs through May 31, 2012. For more information on incentives and to download an application, visit or call the Smart Ideas hotline at 888-806-2273. Smart Ideas is funded by ComEd customers in compliance with Illinois Public Act 95-0481.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

If You Happen to be at the Chicago Auto Show...

The Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center in Pontiac will be presenting a custom-painted car at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.  Read about it here