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NIU to host Crain’s Small Business Week events

September 9, 2013

Crain's Small Business Week @ NIUToday’s headlines are filled with hot-button issues – social media marketing, Illinois’ concealed carry law, changes to employment law – that will affect businesses, their employees and their consumers.

To help regional business owners tackle these complex topics, Northern Illinois University has partnered with Crain’s Small Business Week to present three days of seminars and workshops at NIU Naperville.

Scheduled from Tuesday, Oct. 1, through Thursday, Oct. 3, the Crain’s Small Business Week at NIU Naperville sessions are geared toward business owners, managers and human resources professionals. Throughout the three days, attendees will engage with leading business experts and learn more about marketing trends, business growth, keeping talented workers, human resources, employment law, country of origin and other issues affecting businesses.

On Wednesday evening, attendees will also have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with consultants, experts, and potential business partners during the Hot-Topic Networking session. This “business after hours” event will be hosted by NIU and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Luanne Mayorga, an NIU Outreach associate focusing on business and workforce development, is coordinating Crain’s Small Business Week at NIU Naperville. She sees the events as a great way to connect local businesses with the resources and support they need.

“We crafted the sessions with the entrepreneur in mind as we know first-hand how busy their schedules are and how overwhelming it can be to try to filter credible information from the multitude of online sources available today,” Mayorga says.


Mayorga stresses that the sessions will contain relevant, actionable information that owners and managers can apply to their businesses right away.

“Topics we are addressing are hot-button items that local businesses are facing on a daily basis,” she says. “These sessions will be informational and interactive allowing the business owner to meet face-to-face with professionals in the field and get pertinent questions answered right then and there.”

Crain’s Small Business Week at NIU Naperville is sponsored by NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Information Technologies, which is committed to the economic development of the northern Illinois region and the continuing professional development of its citizens.

Meryl Sussman

Meryl Sussman

Meryl Sussman, director of Outreach Programming for Adults, helped bring the event to NIU. She says that it just makes sense for NIU Outreach to partner with local businesses.

“NIU is a large, vibrant and complex community of scholars and students, of task forces and advisory groups, of facilities and laboratories that have been actively engaged with the businesses of northern Illinois for years,” Sussman says.

Crain’s Small Business Week at NIU Naperville is just one of the many ways that NIU will strengthen ties with the business community, she adds. NIU Outreach is also launching Springboard, an online portal through which local enterprises can access business resources from the university and its partners.

Springboard will include a directory to all the opportunities provided by NIU’s colleges and faculty experts and a way to connect with NIU’s students.

“We are seeking to bring important news and support to the region’s businesses by working closely with internal and external partners and by promoting their services to those who can use them,” Sussman says.

Sussman calls Springboard a door into a network of possibilities. “We will post links to the many agencies and organizations that serve businesses throughout the region and alert businesses when important seminars are being presented in the region.  Our goal is not to replicate any service provided already by university or external experts.”

The Crain’s Small Business Week at NIU Naperville sessions range in price from $29 to $89. Attendees can register for all events to save 10 percent. More information about the sessions, speakers and registration is available online.