The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) and the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Western Illinois University have a new business advisor for the Illinois SBDC at WIU’s Quad Cities campus in Moline.

Maria Ramos joins Assistant Director Ann Friederichs in the QC office (3300 River Drive); is bilingual (Spanish) and will be in charge of minority outreach and community engagement. She will also be helping Quad-City entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

Maria Ramos at the Western Small Business Development Center in Moline.

Ramos has served as a graduate assistant for the Illinois SBDC at WIU-QC for the past 18 months. She received her master’s degree in community and economic development from WIU in December 2021.

The Illinois Small Business Develop Center (SBDC) at WIU, under the IIRA, functions much like the University; one SBDC with two locations. The Illinois SBDC at WIU-QC opened in May 2017.

Over the past year, the center has:

• Retained 196 jobs in the Illinois QC

• $6.6 million in debt and non-debt financing

• 339 clients advised

• 150 self-identified as minorities

• 2,108 client hours advised

Over this past year, nationally:

• 51 percent of businesses were started by women nationwide.

• 28 percent of businesses were started by minorities.

• Illinois is ranked seventh in the nation for business startup activity.

Ramos can be reached for free, confidential, one-on-one, small business counseling sessions, by visiting HERE, by phone at 309-762-3999, ext. 68042, or by emailing