PITTSFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) – The Pike County Economic Development Corporation has a partnership with the Small Business Development Center out of Western Illinois University in Macomb to bring a class to Pittsfield, Illinois, for anyone interested in becoming a business owner.
Pike County Economic Development Executive Director Brenda Middendorf said four new small businesses were created as a result of these classes, all of which were started during the pandemic.
Brenton Douglas said he opened Douglas Automotive and Tire back in November 2021.
“When it came to reality, I was pretty overwhelmed,” Douglas said.
He took advantage of free business classes offered with Pike County Economic Development Corporation to get started.
“In the first 60 days we were open, we worked on 350 cars in the first two months. That’s a lot of cars in two months,” Douglas said.
While he already has 14 years of automotive experience, he said the classes taught him how to organize a business and market it.
Middendorf said it’s critical they provide these resources because it’s drawing in revenue to the county.
“We’ve been able to provide QuickBooks instructors and professional marketers, as an outgrowth of our classes. So it’s kept many of our businesses very vital during this time,” Middendorf said.
She said it’s also creating jobs.
“We’ve seen two new businesses from the last and those are employing new people and putting dollars back into our community. So I think it’s very, very impactful,” she said.
Douglas said the classes opened doors of opportunity for him like providing him with an accountant and covering the first few months of advertising.
“Some of those advertisements like $350 a month. That’s a big chunk out of your pocket especially when you’re first opening up,” he said.
That’s why he said you should take the opportunity.
“Take a class. Maybe it’s just learning one thing,” he said.
Middendorf said anyone can register for the free classes. You can do so by calling (217) 491-2401 or emailing [email protected]
She said the classes will start Tuesday, Feb. 22 and are held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., every two weeks.
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