New Quad Cities advisers focused on minority-owned businesses

A new business advisor was hired at both WIU-Quad Cities and Eastern Iowa Community College. The two will focus their time helping minority-owned small businesses.

MOLINE, Ill. – If you take a look around downtown Moline, small businesses are everywhere.

Small businesses account for 99% of all businesses globally, according to Mike Oberhaus, the interim CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

In 2021, small businesses accounted for more than 60% of new jobs, according to Ann Friederichs, the assistant director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Illinois University-Quad Cities.

“We help them understand the process of starting a business,” Friederichs said.

Friederichs is helping small businesses across the area grow. That includes working with anyone wanting to start a business or anyone who currently owns a business.

“It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of time,” Friederichs said. “It takes feasibility studies. It takes business plans. It takes financial aptitude, all sorts of things that we help you understand and create.”

Maria Ramos recently started working with Friederichs at the Small Business Development Center office at Western Illinois University. Ramos had been working in the office as a graduate student but is now a full-time business adviser alongside Friederichs.

“The Hispanic community has been growing in the Quad City area,” Ramos said.

Ramos’ position was created through a partnership between WIU-Quad Cities and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. Through this work, Ramos hopes to share her culture, she said.

“They are looking for me because they feel comfortable with me, speaking in their own language, sharing the same culture,” Ramos said.

Ramos will also be providing one-on-one, confidential business counseling at her office at WIU-Quad Cities. That service is free for any business owner that first signs up as a client with the Small Business Development Center office.

Molly Mayfield is also a new business advisor. She was hired by Eastern Iowa Community College, also with that partnership with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Mayfield currently owns Green Flex Financial, an accounting firm she founded. By working as a business advisor at the Small Business Development Office at EICC, she hopes she can use the experience to give back to the small, minority-owned business community, Mayfield said.

“We have an opportunity to really enrich what is happening in our community and we have an opportunity to make a deeper impact in underserved communities,” Mayfield said.

You can contact Small Business Development Center advisors at EICC by calling 563-336-3401 or by visiting their website.

You can contact the Small Business Development Center advisers at WIU-Quad Cities by calling 309-762-3999, extension 68042, or by visiting their website.

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