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1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Department of Commerce and Economic
5Opportunity Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois
6is amended by changing Section 605-503 as follows:
7    (20 ILCS 605/605-503)
8    (This Section may contain text from a Public Act with a
9delayed effective date)
10    Sec. 605-503. Entrepreneurship assistance centers.
11    (a) The Department shall establish and support, subject to
12appropriation, entrepreneurship assistance centers, including
13the issuance of grants, at career education agencies and
14not-for-profit corporations including, but not limited to,
15local development corporations, chambers of commerce,
16community-based business outreach centers, and other
17community-based organizations. The purpose of the centers
18shall be to train minority group members, women, individuals
19with a disability, dislocated workers, and veterans, and youth
20entrepreneurs in the principles and practice of
21entrepreneurship in order to prepare those persons to pursue
22self-employment opportunities and to pursue a minority
23business enterprise or a women-owned business enterprise. The



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1centers shall provide for training in all aspects of business
2development and small business management as defined by the
4    (b) The Department shall establish criteria for selection
5and designation of the centers which shall include, but not be
6limited to:
7        (1) the level of support for the center from local
8    post-secondary education institutions, businesses, and
9    government;
10        (2) the level of financial assistance provided at the
11    local and federal level to support the operations of the
12    center;
13        (3) the applicant's understanding of program goals and
14    objectives articulated by the Department;
15        (4) the plans of the center to supplement State and
16    local funding through fees for services which may be based
17    on a sliding scale based on ability to pay;
18        (5) the need for and anticipated impact of the center
19    on the community in which it will function;
20        (6) the quality of the proposed work plan and staff of
21    the center; and
22        (7) the extent of economic distress in the area to be
23    served.
24    (c) Each center shall:
25        (1) be operated by a board of directors representing
26    community leaders in business, education, finance and



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1    government;
2        (2) be incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation;
3        (3) be located in an area accessible to eligible
4    clients;
5        (4) establish an advisory group of community business
6    experts, at least one-half of whom shall be representative
7    of the clientele to be served by the center, which shall
8    constitute a support network to provide counseling and
9    mentoring services to minority group members, women,
10    individuals with a disability, dislocated workers, and
11    veterans, and youth entrepreneurs from the concept stage
12    of development through the first one to 2 years of
13    existence on a regular basis and as needed thereafter; and
14        (5) establish a referral system and linkages to
15    existing area small business assistance programs and
16    financing sources.
17    (d) Each entrepreneurship assistance center shall provide
18needed services to eligible clients, including, but not
19limited to: (i) orientation and screening of prospective
20entrepreneurs; (ii) analysis of business concepts and
21technical feasibility; (iii) market analysis; (iv) management
22analysis and counseling; (v) business planning and financial
23planning assistance; (vi) referrals to financial resources;
24(vii) referrals to existing educational programs for training
25in such areas as marketing, accounting, and other training
26programs as may be necessary and available; and (viii)



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1referrals to business incubator facilities, when appropriate,
2for the purpose of entering into agreements to access shared
3support services.
4    (e) Applications for grants made under this Section shall
5be made in the manner and on forms prescribed by the
6Department. The application shall include, but shall not be
7limited to:
8        (1) a description of the training programs available
9    within the geographic area to be served by the center to
10    which eligible clients may be referred;
11        (2) designation of a program director;
12        (3) plans for providing ongoing technical assistance
13    to program graduates, including linkages with providers of
14    other entrepreneurial assistance programs and with
15    providers of small business technical assistance and
16    services;
17        (4) a program budget, including matching funds,
18    in-kind and otherwise, to be provided by the applicant;
19    and
20        (5) any other requirements as deemed necessary by the
21    Department.
22    (f) Grants made under this Section shall be disbursed for
23payment of the cost of services and expenses of the program
24director, the instructors of the participating career
25education agency or not-for-profit corporation, the faculty
26and support personnel thereof, and any other person in the



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1service of providing instruction and counseling in furtherance
2of the program.
3    (g) The Department shall monitor the performance of each
4entrepreneurial assistance center and require quarterly
5reports from each center at such time and in such a manner as
6prescribed by the Department.
7    The Department shall also evaluate the entrepreneurial
8assistance centers established under this Section and report
9annually beginning on January 1, 2023, and on or before
10January 1 of each year thereafter, the results of the
11evaluation to the Governor and the General Assembly. The
12report shall discuss the extent to which the centers serve
13minority group members, women, individuals with a disability,
14dislocated workers, and veterans, and youth entrepreneurs; the
15extent to which the training program is coordinated with other
16assistance programs targeted to small and new businesses; the
17ability of the program to leverage other sources of funding
18and support; and the success of the program in aiding
19entrepreneurs to start up new businesses, including the number
20of new business start-ups resulting from the program. The
21report shall recommend changes and improvements in the
22training program and in the quality of supplemental technical
23assistance offered to graduates of the training programs. The
24report shall be made available to the public on the
25Department's website. Between evaluation due dates, the
26Department shall maintain the necessary records and data



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1required to satisfy the evaluation requirements.
2    (h) For purposes of this Section:
3    "Entrepreneurship assistance center" or "center" means the
4business development centers or programs which provide
5assistance to primarily minority group members, women,
6individuals with a disability, dislocated workers and
7veterans, and youth entrepreneurs under this Section.
8    "Disability" means, with respect to an individual: (i) a
9physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or
10more of the major life activities of an individual; (ii) a
11record of such an impairment; or (iii) being regarded as
12having an impairment.
13    "Minority business enterprise" has the same meaning as
14provided for "minority-owned business" under Section 2 of the
15Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with
16Disabilities Act.
17    "Minority group member" has the same meaning as provided
18for "minority person" under Section 2 of the Business
19Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with
20Disabilities Act.
21    "Women-owned business enterprise" has the same meaning as
22provided for "women-owned business" under Section 2 of the
23Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with
24Disabilities Act.
25    "Veteran" means a person who served in and who has
26received an honorable or general discharge from, the United



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1States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or
2reserves thereof, or who served in the Army National Guard,
3Air National Guard, or Illinois National Guard.
4    "Youth entrepreneur" means a person who is between the
5ages of 16 and 29 years old that is seeking community support
6to start a business in Illinois.
7(Source: P.A. 102-272, eff. 1-1-22.)