Supporting and advancing Illinois entrepreneurship,
innovation, and economic development

WHO WE ARE

The Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) supports advancement of entrepreneurship through linking university incubators to resource sharing, technical assistance, and the collection of best practices. The IUIN also supports communication efforts of the University of Illinois EDA University Center. The IUIN and the EDA University Center are led by EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois Research Park. Funding support for outreach, programs, and resources is provided by grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

WHAT WE DO

The Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) provides direct services to entrepreneurs and small businesses such as funding support for innovation research and assistance with graphic design, marketing communication, market surveys, websites, social media, etc. IUIN members cultivate mentorship relationships among university incubators to capture and share depth and breadth of knowledge.

About

Cheri Soliday

Outreach Coordinator, Incubation and Entrepreneurship

Rebecca Motley

Interim EnterpriseWorks Operations Manager

Laura Bleill

Director of External Engagement, EnterpriseWorks and Research Park at Illinois

Laura Frerichs

Executive Director, University of Illinois Research Park and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Economic Development

Cheri Soliday

Cheri manages outreach activities and projects associated with the EDA-funded Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) and the University of Illinois EDA University Center program that helps entrepreneurship centers in downstate Illinois.

Cheri joined the EnterpriseWorks team as Outreach Coordinator in September 2018. Cheri previously provided program, event, and communication management and leadership for multi-university research consortia focused on cybersecurity of energy delivery systems. Prior to that, she provided outreach and program management for an industry/academic research center focused on multicore and parallel programming. Cheri also had the honor of investing in the development of students via roles at Parkland College and Danville Area Community College. She has a B.S. degree in Advertising and an M.S. degree in Management and Leadership.

Position

Outreach Coordinator, Incubation and Entrepreneurship

Contact Information

csoliday@illinois.edu
(217) 244-6097

Rebecca Motley

Rebecca Motley first joined the EnterpriseWorks team in Fall 2020, initially working on grant management and implementing the Illinois Reboot tech training program. As of March 2021, she is serving as Interim EnterpriseWorks Operations Manager. She assists broadly with managing day-to-day incubator operations, including client service needs.

Rebecca has a background in economic development, small business assistance, finance, and real estate. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS and MBA from the Gies College of Business.

Position

Interim EnterpriseWorks Operations Manager

Contact Information

motley1@illinois.edu
(217) 265-9171

Laura Bleill

Laura Weisskopf Bleill manages the community building portfolio of the Research Park at Illinois. She develops strategy behind the Research Park’s events and programming; communications, branding and marketing efforts; and directs the Research Park’s efforts to grow and retain its workforce. She also works with the entrepreneurial ecosystem across campus and has been part of the National Science Foundation I-Corps at Illinois team. She is the co-PI and co-founder of the AWARE entrepreneurship inclusion effort funded by NSF, which now has been replicated at other universities.

Laura has been on the Research Park team since 2010, having served in a variety of capacities. Formerly a sportswriter, she has a master’s and bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. An entrepreneur herself, Bleill is CEO of a hyperlocal digital magazine in Champaign-Urbana. She and her husband live in Champaign with their three daughters.

Position

Laura Bleill, Director of External Engagement, EnterpriseWorks and Research Park at Illinois

Contact Information

lwbleill@illinois.edu
(217) 244-7744

Laura Frerichs

Laura Frerichs oversees the University of Illinois Research Park operations and development, manages the entrepreneurship programs at EnterpriseWorks technology incubator, and supports the University’s economic development efforts. She also serves as Director of Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and supports special projects of the Chancellor’s Economic Development Council.

She is active in numerous regional organizations including the Advisory Council of the Illinois Technology Association, the board and Executive Committee of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, the board of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, ChicagoNEXT Council, the elected board of the Association of University Research, and she is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Laura was named “Woman of the Year” by Central Illinois Business Magazine in 2009; awarded the Entrepreneur Advocacy Award at the Champaign County Innovation Celebration, 2011; presented the 2013 Athena Young Professional Award; and awarded a Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award, 2015. Laura is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Media and served as Student Body President at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Position

Executive Director, University of Illinois Research Park and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Economic Development

Contact Information

lfrerich@illinois.edu
(217) 333-8323