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November 7, 2011

$165,500 Committed to Create Coles County Entrepreneurship Class

EIU’s Business Solutions Center’s Entrepreneurship Class Committee and financial partners after the announcement at the BSC/SCORE Breakfast, Thursday, October 20, 2011.
(First Row L-R) Susan Hanfland – SCH Consulting, Barb Love – Howell Paving, Joyce Madigan – Gilbert, Metzger & Madigan LLP, Chris Swing – Pinnacle Foods, Gary Otto – First Federal Savings and Loan, John Inyart – Midas
(Second Row l-r) Todd Vilardo – Charleston Community School District #1, Jeanne Dau – Business Solutions Center at Eastern Illinois University, John Dallas – LD Mechanical Contractors, Dan Downs – First Neighbor Bank, Bob Carr – Wells Fargo Advisors, Mike Metzger – Gilbert, Metzger & Madigan LLP, Wayne Meinhart – Innovative Staff Solutions, Sarah Greider – Consolidated Communications, JR Hickman – The Upchurch Group, Jerome Groniger, Eli Sidwell, Raif Perry – West & Company, LLC, Joedy Hightower and Jon Fulton, Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, Carol and Wendall Adams – Adams Memorial and Rance Higgins – First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust.
(Class Champions not pictured are: Bob Jones, Carl Walworth, Bob Becker, Alex Melvin, Don Davis, Bob Schultz and Susan Smith)


A total of sixty businesses and individuals have committed $162,500 over a three year period to fund a proposed county-wide experiential entrepreneurship class. This was announced at the BSC/SCORE Annual Breakfast on Thursday, October 20th at the Lifespan Center. This proposed class will be open to Charleston, Mattoon and Oakland High School juniors and seniors beginning in the fall of 2012 if approved by the three school boards.

Each student in the class will start their own business which will offer a life-changing look into the opportunities and challenges of creating and running a new venture. A key component of the class in the involvement of the community to serve as: advisory board members, expert speakers, job shadowing sites and workplace mentors. The ultimate goal is to have the students return to Coles County and use their business connections to create new ventures that will possibly sell globally but be based locally to create more jobs and secure more taxes for Coles County. This class is modeled after the successful Effingham County Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) class that is in its third year of operation.

“We are thrilled to see the amount of support for this project,” said Jeanne Dau, Director of the Business Solutions Center at Eastern Illinois University. “Once businesses and educators heard about the project, many stepped up and not only gave money but helped raise money and awareness from their colleagues.” Isaac Dallas, son of John and Lisa Dallas, a sophomore high school student and graduate of Camp e3 – energizing emerging entrepreneur’s summer camp, unveiled the poster that listed the class investors. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to continue exploring my entrepreneurial interests,” said Dallas.

The Business Solutions Center at Eastern Illinois University has served as the catalyst for this initiative with the support from the Consolidated Communication Fund for Economic Development and Community Leadership. The Mattoon Area Community Foundation will serve as the fiscal agent and Eastern Illinois Education for Employment Systems will be the managing organization with the direction coming from a community committee.

The newly elected committee members are: Bob Jones of Marketing by Jones – President, Joyce Madigan of Gilbert Metzger, Madigan LLP – President Elect, Chris Swing of Pinnacle Foods – Treasurer, Krista Jackley of Mattoon High School – Secretary, Todd Vilardo of Charleston Community School District #1, Steve Brockman of Oakland High School, Jeanne Foley of McDonalds of Coles County, Jim Zimmer of Eastern Illinois Properties, Aldo Ruffolo of Bella Vein Laser Center Medical Spa, Jon Fulton of the Mattoon Area Community Foundation, Gary Philippi of the Eastern Illinois Education for Employment Systems and Jeanne Dau of the Business Solutions Center at Eastern Illinois University.

Thank you to the following business partners who have committed $1,000 per year for three years: Adams Memorials, Advanced Digital Solutions, Anonymous, Armstrong, Grove & Shoaf Law, Bella Vein Laser Center Medical Spa, City of Charleston, City of Mattoon, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Commercial Electric, Consolidated Communications, Corrie Appraisal & Consulting, Inc., Curry Construction, Curry & Company, Diepholz Auto Group, Doehring, Winders & Co. LLP, Ealy Appraisals, Eastern Illinois Properties, First Federal Savings & Loan, First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, First Neighbor Bank, Flesor’s Candy Kitchen, Gilbert, Metzger & Madigan, LLP, Jerome C. Groniger, Howell Paving, Inc. Innovative Staff Solutions, J.G. Scholes Trucking, Inc., Jimmy Johns (Mattoon)/Clyde’s Animal Clinic, Lake Land College, LD Mechanical Contractors, Lifetime Eye Care, Lorenz Supply Co, Marketing by Jones, LLC, Mars Petcare US, McDonald’s of Coles County, Midas, Mid-Illinois Concrete, Paap Auto Body, Dan Pilson Auto Centers, Porter Auto Body, Reed Fly-On, RexDon, Inc., Ronchetti Distributing Co., Rural King Supply, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, Eli Sidwell, State Farm Insurance – Mattoon, The Sparks Foundation, Unique Home Properties, United Graphics, Inc., Upchurch Group, Inc., Veolia Environmental Services, Wells Fargo Advisors, West & Company, LLC.

Other financial commitments have been received by: Anonymous, Coles Moultrie Electric Coop, KIMA Management, LLC, Lanman Oil, Lorenz Supply Company, Mattoon Precision Manufacturing, The First National Bank, and Watts Copy Systems.

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