Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) links higher education incubators and facilitate best practice and resource sharing, opportunities for workshops, as well as direct assistance to entrepreneurs. Supporting partners for the IUIN include Bradley University, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Chicago, University of Illinois Springfield, University of Illinois Champaign – Urbana. Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) offers free small business assistance and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant assistance to startups associated with University Incubators across Illinois.

IUIN Small Business Assistance Program

The small business assistance program offers free graphic design work, including logo design, assistance with branding, creation of marketing materials, and website design. We also offer website development and business market research. Small business, entrepreneurs, researchers, university students and faculty are encouraged to apply for free services. Apply for small business assistance here:

Examples of Small Business Assistance Projects

  • Market research based on journals, publications, patents, and competitive business intelligence
  • International market research
  • Business plan review and editing
  • Logo development
  • Pitch presentation
  • Graphics or formatting assistance for business presentation
  • Website development; “brochure-like” format, can not be the product for the company, no on-going maintenance will be provided, all domain registration and hosting fees are at the company’s expense.
  • Packaging design assistance
  • Trade show booth or point-of-sale product display design assistance
  • Graphics assistance for marketing materials (content must already be created)
  • Basic social media and online marketing strategy (i.e. use of Google AdWords, Facebook ads)

Apply for small business assistance here:


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Assistance Program

The IUIN offers free Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) consulting along with SBIR workshops to startups, innovators, faculty, students, and entrepreneurs. SBIR technical assistance and counseling through the support of the Illinois University Incubator Network provides assistance to qualified small businesses to propose innovative projects that meet specific federal needs. These programs offer more than $2 billion dollars annually to support the research and development of technology by small businesses across the nation. Federal agencies set aside a portion of their extramural R&D budget to be awarded to small businesses. Entrepreneurs can get anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million in capital to determine a technology’s feasibility and develop a prototype.

We offer free guidance to small businesses interested in submitting proposals to participating agencies in response to agency solicitations. We also offer training workshops on the overall SBIR program and shorter workshops with specific topic areas pertaining to SBIR funding. Let us help you become familiar with SBIR funding, search solicitations, learn best practices for applications, talk with program managers for input, draft a budget, write a commercialization plan, or execute an award agreement. Apply for SBIR Assistance at:

About Roland Garton, Garton Consulting Services


Roland Garton is President of Lead Consultant for Garton Consulting Services, Inc and He has over three decades of experience with grant development, government contracting, program and project management, training and documentation, and program administration.

Garton has written or advised on scores of SBIR proposals worth several million dollars to 9 of the 11 federal SBIR-granting agencies. He has also managed several projects resulting from successful SBIR proposals.  In addition, he has set up bookkeeping and timekeeping systems for many SBIR recipients, prepared invoices and Incurred Cost Proposals, and help navigate multiple companies through federal audits, many of them conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).




About Anna Lisa Somera, ALS Consulting


Anna Lisa is an experienced medical device consultant, venture capitalist, intellectual property analyst, technology transfer specialist, biomedical researcher, and entrepreneur specialized in early-stage, cutting edge technology businesses. She has been part of the entrepreneurial community in Illinois for 14 years and has helped drive the formation and raised angel and venture funding for several start-up companies while also serving as top management many of the ventures.

Somera’s advising adds up to over fifteen million dollars in awards to date, mostly for Illinois companies. Her multi-disciplinary academic preparation in business, public health, and cell biology, along with her strong ties to the University of Illinois, has aided in her success in the entrepreneurial community. Additionally, Somera serves as an SBIR/STTR grant consultant at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.



Apply for SBIR Assistance at: