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NEWS FEED
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Shark Tank-featured Spikeball CEO Chris Ruder to Headline ACCELERATE 2016 Small Business Conference & Expo
KANKAKEE, IL – March 29, 2016 – Spikeball Inc. CEO and Kankakee native Chris Ruder will keynote the 2nd Annual ACCELERATE Small Business Conference & Expo, to be held Thursday, September 8 at Kankakee Community College's Riverfront Campus in Kankakee. A 2015 winner on ABC’s Shark Tank, Ruder 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. The company has averaged more than 100% growth each year since 2008, 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 full-day ACCELERATE event, which attracted more than 100 small business owners and managers in its inaugural year in 2015, 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.
 
Hosted by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Kankakee 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. A Chamber Business After Hours, open to all registered attendees, will conclude the day’s events.
 
Complete program, exhibitor and registration details will be available in the coming weeks at kcc.edu/accelerate2016.
 
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.
 
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 411 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.