Skip Navigation

College News

Small Business Development Center receives $166K grant

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Apr 10, 2020

The College of Lake County’s Small Business Development and International Trade Center recently received a grant of $166,170.92 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Activity.

The grant funding will allow the center to operate for the rest of 2020 as efforts continue to find a source of long-term funding, said Mitch Bienvenue, the center’s manager.

Founded in 1984, the SBDC serves an average of 320 clients per year. It assists existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in areas such as developing a business plan, securing bank loans, overcoming common business startup problems and providing referrals to other service agencies.

Bienvenue said the SBDC’s innovative programs include teaching entrepreneurial skills to inmates at the Lake County jail and offering Entrepreneur Academy, featuring 30 hours of blended learning and 8.5 months of one-on-one mentoring. Additionally, a succession-and-exit planning program helps established businesses to ensure continuity by transitioning ownership to others.

The grant also includes the functions of an International Trade Center, assisting businesses in Lake County, including those new to export and new to market, to grow their international market scope, Bienvenue said.

For more information on the SBDC, visit 

About College of Lake County: 

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.