Virtual conference to focus on immigrant workforce

The Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is part of a professional committee supporting local restaurants and retailers for Small Business Saturday. This group, known as the Small Business Week of Southwestern Illinois, reached out to area chambers to create an enticing shopping experience in support of local small businesses.

The Greater Belleville, Collinsville, Edwardsville-Glen Carbon, Metro East (Fairview-Swansea), O’Fallon- Shiloh and the Troy-Maryville-St. Jacob-Marine Chambers did not hesitate to join the effort in support of their small business members.

Together these chambers across Madison and St. Clair counties solicited companies to spotlight themselves on a “passport” in an effort to promote their establishment and garner more customers during COVID-19.

Local retailers and restaurant owners were also quick to offer prizes in appreciation of their patrons.

The passport size was limited, so only 16 businesses are featured from Madison and St. Clair counties, respectively. This is a great opportunity for business owners to advertise and generate traffic for the upcoming holidays.

SBDC Director Jo Ann Di Maggio May appreciates the support of all the chambers and the entire committee.

“It truly takes a team effort to help small businesses survive and thrive,” she said.

Shoppers have from Sunday, Nov. 22, through Saturday, Nov. 28 (Small Business Saturday) to stamp their “passport” at all 16 local establishments for a chance to win a prize from these generous business owners. Because of COVID-19 safety precautions, shoppers are welcome to purchase online (if available) or take advantage of curbside or delivery options.

Just return the passport via email (scan or take a picture of a completed passport) by 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, to Winners will be announced on Monday, Nov. 30.

To obtain a county “passport” and support small business, contact the respective local chamber or the Illinois SBDC for the Metro East at

Small Business Week of Southwestern Illinois pays tribute to the contributions that small business makes to the U.S. economy. Its focus is on:

  • Uniting the region’s tireless, hard-working entrepreneurs under one tent to inspire and nourish the entrepreneurial spirit that powers the economy — all through a full week of programming and events specifically tailored to their business needs.
  • Rallying the Southwestern Illinois region to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of our small business community through the Small Business Awards. 
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