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NEWS FEED
Monday, June 27, 2016
Registration Now Open for ACCELERATE 2016 Small Business Conference & Expo
KANKAKEE, IL – June 27, 2016 – Both attendee and exhibitor registrations are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual ACCELERATE Small Business Conference & Expo, to be held Thursday, September 8, 2016, at the Kankakee Community College Riverfront Campus in Kankakee.

The day-long event, which attracted more than 100 small business owners in its 2015 inaugural year, will feature education, networking and promotional opportunities, along with keynotes by Spikeball CEO and Kankakee native Chris Ruder as well as best-selling author Summer Alexander.

Cost is $30 for Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce members, $40 for non-Chamber members. Breakfast and lunch are included. A Chamber Business After Hours, open to all registered attendees, will conclude the day’s events.

Program, exhibitor and registration details are available at kcc.edu/accelerate. Phone 815.351.9068 for more information.

Hosted by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Community College, Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County and ONU’s Catalyst Innovation Center, ACCELERATE 2016 will feature breakout sessions presented in three tracks:  Development, Management and Sales & Marketing. Topics will include strategic planning, branding, business benchmarking, profit/loss and cash flow management, digital marketing, and local small business programs and financial incentives. Vendor exhibits will feature local and regional products and services useful to small business owners.

Premier sponsors of the event include The Daily Journal, LinkPoint Media and Midland States Bank. Sponsorships remain available.

Ruder, a 2015 winner on ABC’s Shark Tank, will speak at the noon hour on corporate positioning with “Focused Growth: Thrive by Working Your Unique Market Niche.” A Bishop McNamara and Marquette University graduate, Ruder spent 12 years in the corporate world working for companies like Microsoft and Live Nation before launching the viral beachfront, university quad and grade school PE game Spikeball in 2008. The company has averaged more than 100% growth each year, landing at #139 on the Inc. 500 with more than 1 million players worldwide.

Based in Chicago, Spikeball has packaging and shipping operations in Bradley.

"I am flattered to be invited to speak at an event like this,” said Ruder. “I have very fond memories of growing up in the Riverview neighborhood of Kankakee.

“It's an honor to be able to meet with like-minded individuals who have a strong interest in growing businesses.  Add to the fact that it's a conference where I grew up, it just makes it that much more special."

Breakfast keynote speaker for the event will be Summer Alexander addressing, “Developing Your Marketing Plan of Action.” Alexander, a frequent speaker and best-selling author of “The Little Book of Big Marketing Ideas,” has been featured on WGN-TV, WCIU-TV, Black Enterprise, Jet Magazine and Rolling Out.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Kankakee Community College provides technical and management assistance through one-on-one counseling and group training to potential business owners; provides comprehensive information services and access to experts in many fields; and develops and maintains partnerships among community organizations and local, state and federal agencies. For more information, visit kcc.edu/sbdc. Phone 815.802.8222.

The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit corporation comprised of local businesses and individuals. Its mission is to provide businesses with essential resources, training, and networking opportunities to retain customers, increase revenue and strengthen their position within our communities. The Chamber currently has 450 members. For more information, visit kankakeecountychamber.com or phone 815.351.9068.

The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County is a public-private partnership that works to create jobs and expand the economic base by improving the local business climate. Working under Kankakee County's 2014-19 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, the Alliance is challenged to help spur $500 million in new business investment and 500 new jobs, along with assisting 150 prospective new businesses. For more information, visit kankakeecountyed.org or phone 815.935.1177.

Catalyst Innovation Center is an initiative of Olivet Nazarene University’s Walker School of Engineering.  Catalyst is a community-driven project that is working to develop incubation and business development services to start-up and growing companies locally.  The Center will house client companies, engineering labs, and other business and research entities and projects. For more information, contact Jesse Erickson, jaerickson@olivet.edu or 815.936.3903.

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