• Elgin Area Small Business Academy
  • Elgin Area Small Business Academy

  • Sharing Experience For YOUR Business Success!

    If you are thinking of starting your own business or if you have been in business for less than five years, then you are in the right place! 

    The Elgin Area Small Business Academy will provide you with small business ownership fundamentals and assist you in expanding your network of contacts to help grow your business. 

    Through interactive classes, networking and sharing environment the EASBA seeks to create a supportive community of motivated entrepreneurs and small business owners and business managers who are interested in starting and/or taking their businesses to the next level.

    Gain powerful insights from seasoned small business professionals on:

    • Reasons for Starting a Business

    • Marketing & Advertising

    • Sales Strategies

    • Operations

    • Management

    The Elgin Area Small Business Academy is modeled after the Elgin Area Chamber’s award-winning Elgin Area Leadership Academy.

  • Our Promise Our Promise

    The Academy through an interactive class, networking and sharing environment seeks to create a supportive community of motivated entrepreneurs and small business owners and business managers who are interested in starting and/or taking their businesses to the next level.

    The cornerstone of the Academy is separately targeted multi-meeting seminars where each session will focus on a unique, concise and relevant aspect of business and will involve teaching, sharing, building relationships, identifying best practices and challenging/supporting each other.

    The seminar series will focus on the needs of the motivated early stage entrepreneurs and business start-ups.

    The academy will grow into an active community/network of graduates involved in supporting each other, promoting ongoing educational opportunities and advocating for small businesses in the greater Elgin area.

  • Meet your new FSB's, that's Friends in Small Business Meet your new FSB's, that's Friends in Small Business

    Keith Rauschenberger
    President and Principal Planner
    Rauschenberger Financial Advisors

    Keith has a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in business, with a concentration in finance. He has spent over 30 years in banking and small business management. Keith became involved in planning over 10 years ago and is a CFP ® professional. 


    Nancy Abuali
    Managing Partner
    Radius International

    Nancy is in charge of business development, vendor, and customer relationship management. She managed the company's shipping and freight handling operations by working in teams to provide excellent domestic and international ground, air and ocean shipping solutions. Nancy also managed a network of shipping service providers throughout the United States.

    Carol GieskeCarol Gieske
    President & CEO
    Elgin Area Chamber

    Carol has extensive leadership and non-profit experience, serving as CEO of United of Elgin, President of the Provena Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, and currently the chief executive officer of the Elgin Area Chamber. Carol is responsible for working with the Board of Directors and staff in delivering the mission of the Chamber to its members and the community. 



    Tony Lucenko
    Elgin Development Group

    Tony has over twenty years of experience in the economic development profession attaining successes in areas including Business Retention and Expansion, Business Attraction, Retail Enhancement, Cluster Development, Expanded Business-to-Business sales activity, Strategic Planning, and more. Tony currently is charged with leading Elgin's economic development.

  • Meet the 2016 Class Meet the 2016 Class

    Small Business Academy Class of 2016


    The Elgin Area Chamber’s inaugural Elgin Area Small Business Academy (EASBA) class graduated in June after completing the inaugural cohort of the Academy.

    This highly successful program provided nearly 20 prospective entrepreneurs and existing business owners with small business fundamentals thru a series of monthly interactive classroom-style presentations and discussions from local small business professionals. Topics covered over the course of the six-month academy included marketing and advertising, sales strategies, operations and management.

    The sessions also enabled participants to develop a network of business contacts from both classmates and presenters.

    Businesses that participated ran the gamut from smaller start-up ventures such as Kay Morrisoe’s hospitality, an artisan craft business located inside Elgin’s State Street Market, and Aaron Bowgren’s Aaroco, Inc., a home-based technology consulting company located in South Elgin, to more established small businesses such as Leo Urdaneta’s Domani Café coffee shop in downtown Elgin.

    Former Pingree Grove Police Chief Carol Lussky’s Sheep Wreck Farm, which sells fiber made from Jacob sheep wool, found the program to be very successful in helping her launch her business venture.

     “Our EASBA volunteer committee did a wonderful job of developing the content and framework for this academy,” said Elgin Area Chamber President/CEO Carol Gieske. “It takes a great deal of time and effort to put all of these pieces together in creating something that our participants have really found valuable in starting or growing their business.”

    The EASBA committee consists of Keith Rauschenberger of Rauschenberger Financial Advisors, Nancy Abuali of MEA Cargo, Jim Screeden of SCORE, Aaron Bowgren with Aaroco Custom Software, Catherine Arne of The Room Fox Valley, as well as Carol Gieske of EAC and Elgin Development Group's Tony Lucenko.

    Graduates include:

    Pam Echevarria, Shared Harvest

    Heather Muniz, Shared Harvest

    Kay Morrisroe, HospitaliTea

    Cindy Rauschenberger, Fox Valley Endodontic Specialists

    Aaron Bowgren, Aaroco Custom Software

    Leonardo Urdaneta, Domani Cafe

    Chris and Ashley Sumner, Mama Lee's Gourmet Popcorn

    Catherine Arne, The Room Fox Valley

    Jeff Seagren, Jeff Seagren Inc.

    Karen Reyes, Karen Reyes Insurance Agency

    Carol Lussky, Sheep Wreck Farm

    Christina Castro, Butter & Flour

    Jeffrey Mayr, Ridge Road Defense

    Parley Casto, Ridge Road Defense

    Daniel Sparks, Photography Moments II

    Toni Frazier, Community Representative

    Amanda Garcia, ColorWord Creative

    Hans Klemmer, Hans Klemmer, Imaging & Glass

    Parker Thompson, Elgin Bike Club

    Darlene Castelvecchi, Community Member

    Jonathan Ware, Science Closet & Sarah Blossom Ware

    Steve Sikorsky, Sikorsky Chiropractic and Fitness

    Joseph Cabanas, Mabuhay Insurance Agency

    Tangela Campbell, Ms T's Commercial Green Cleaning

    Bryan Blazer, Karr and Blazer Dental

    Elise Klein, Elise Klein Fashion Consultant

    Jennifer Cook, Cook's Ice Cream

    Carol Palframan, Art Area Studio51

    Steve Bichlmeier, Worm Kings

    Mark Glavin, Fox Valley Shooting Club

    Patrick Trevino, Learn & Play Chess

  • Upcoming Events

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