The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) and the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Western Illinois University have introduced Maria Ramos as a new business advisor for the Illinois SBDC at WIU’s Quad Cities campus, according to a news release.
Ramos, who joins Assistant Director Ann Friederichs in the Quad Cities office, is bilingual (Spanish) and will be in charge of minority outreach and community engagement. She also will help Quad City entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
Ramos has served as a graduate assistant for the Illinois SBDC at WIU-QC for the past 18 months. She earned 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 WIU QC opened in May 2017.
Over the past year, the center has retained 196 jobs in the Illinois Quad Cities, advised 339 clients – 150 self-identified as minorities – and advised 2,108 client hours.