Business Ownership

Software Developer Russ Forstall Utilizes Co-working Spaces To Gain New Perspectives on Business and Family

Russ Utilizing High-top Table Space for Stand-Up Desk

Russ Forstall, owner of software development business ‘Slash Pine Tech LLC‘ has control of his professional life in a way many of us strive to accomplish.

After spending five years at a large programming agency, Russ realized he was at a crossroads in his life. Either he could commit long term to working at an agency or he could start his own business with his knowledge of programming and enter an entirely new world of possibilities.

Since starting ‘Slash Pine Tech‘ Mr. Forstall has been able to shift his perspective to one that allows him to put family first. When speaking of his motivation for being self-employeed, Russ said, “my kids are still young and I want to be able to spend more time with them.”

While many of us long to better balance our personal and professional lives, Mr. Forstall has a solid understanding of both. He says through having a better perspective of family relationships, he has gained a better understanding of relationships with coworkers, colleagues, customers and clients.

We at Elevate are ecstatic to see the co-working model play a part in allowing entrepreneurs the ability to start their own business in which Russ says there has been, “a lot more to conquer and a lot more to learn.” Our function serves to provide perspective business owners with the confidence to take the next step in following their dreams in developing their own business.

Become a member or schedule a tour today https://elevate217.spaces.nexudus.com/en

As always, keep up to date with Elevate on social media, connect with us on LinkedIn @ Elevate CCIC, INC., Facebook @ElevateCCIC, Twitter and Instagram @elevate217

Business Ownership, Development, Elevate Programs

Elevate’s Role as a Business Incubation Center in Coles County: Enabling Business Ownership for People of All Backgrounds

As a community organization, Elevate is always thinking about what role we play in Mattoon and the greater Coles County Area. We hope to be thought of as a place of unity and equity; welcoming to people of every race, gender, religion, sexuality and background.

We have always felt our best assets to our community are the resources we are able to provide to anyone with the dream to be their own boss. Small business owners are perhaps one of the greatest metrics to measure the diversity of an area and the opportunities provided to citizens of said region.

We hope to cultivate an ever growing pool of diverse business owners in our area through programs such as Grow With Google, The Lakeland Initiative, The Kiva Loan program and The Simple Accelerator Program. These programs provide the building blocks for business development and success with the purpose of creating an opportunity for any entrepreneur to start or build their own business.

It is the belief of the team at Elevate that business ownership represents financial equality, representation and happiness. Through creating a more diverse environment for business ownership we look to create a more inclusive world and community.

Become a member or schedule a tour today https://elevate217.spaces.nexudus.com/en

As always, keep up to date with Elevate on social media, connect with us on LinkedIn @ Elevate CCIC, INC., Facebook @ElevateCCIC, Tik Tok– @elevateccic Twitter and Instagram @elevate217

Business Ownership, Elevate Programs

Elevate CCIC. Offers Physical Space For Your Business

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog post, you have probably noticed the variety of membership options available at our center. One of these is our ‘mailbox’ monthly membership.

For only $40 a month, we offer a variety of resources to entrepreneurs interested in starting a business or growing their existing organization. Most important to the mailbox membership is the opportunity to attach a physical address to your business.

For only $40 monthly, we provide a professional image, greatly improve your chances of being found online, a meeting place for the clients you will be attracting and added security. Additionally, signing various legal documents such as forming an LLC or opening a bank account may require a physical address.

Yes, theoretically one could operate a business without an address attached to their company. It is possible to do, but it isn’t your best option.

Firstly, the professionalism associated with having a street address attached to your business is unmatched by a P.O. box or using a home address. Customers will surely appreciate knowing where your business exist and are much more likely to take your organizations seriously.

Our mailboxes also greatly increase your chances of being found online. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the ability potential clients have to find your business online. For example, if someone in Mattoon wanted to start a business, they may search, ‘startup business Mattoon Illinois’ they will quickly find Elevate in the search results. One factor attributed to this is we have verified an address on Google My Business. On this page, Google recommends verifying an address to improve your local ranking saying, “Verify your business locations to give them the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products, like Maps and Search.”

The physical workspace included in this membership also creates an environment greatly associated with the growth of your business. When working in our drop in table space, you will be allowed a professional environment to meet with potential clients interested in your business.

The security associated with your business existing physically at Elevate holds much value to any business owner. If working from a rental apartment or house, it is likely contradictory to a landlords lease agreement to conduct a business from this residence. Those found doing so may be subject to fines of even eviction. Even when owing a home residence, our ‘mailbox’ membership allows for a separation of work and personal space.

Become a member or schedule a tour today https://elevate217.spaces.nexudus.com/en

As always, keep up to date with Elevate on social media, connect with us on LinkedIn @ Elevate CCIC, INC., Facebook @ElevateCCIC, Tik Tok– @elevateccic Twitter and Instagram @elevate217

Business Ownership

Support for Local Business During Coronavirus (COVID-19)



Elevate has always and will always work towards our mission of encouraging, connecting and growing small and startup businesses in the Coles County Region. During the current circumstances presented by COVID-19, we recognize our duty as a community organization is to provide as many resources as possible to business owners in our region. For the duration of this situation, we will continue to do our very best to present options that work for you and your business.

As a precautionary measure, our space in the Cross-County Mall is currently not available to the public. The health and safety of our community will always be our number one priority at Elevate. While we are not physically able to connect in person, we recognize that now more than ever our non-profit business model holds value to hundreds of local companies focused on economic prosperity.

We remain available to every business during this time. Reach out to us via email at director@elevate217.org with questions or to organize a free consultation. We are here to help in this time of need.

Additional Resources

Per U.S. Small Business Administration

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are currently eligible to apply for a loan advance of up to $10,000.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

The SBA provides a debt relief to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.

Per USDA

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

Per U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

To help small business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the new programs that will soon be available to them, we have created a comprehensive guide to many of the small business provisions in the CARES Act that was passed by Congress on March 27. These programs and initiatives are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. 

Per Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Our staff and the Small Business Development Centers across the state will be available to assist businesses with accessing available supports for those impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Per Google.org

We want to help alleviate some of the cost for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. That’s why we’re giving our SMBs worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms. SMBs who have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 will see a credit notification appear in their Google Ads account in the coming months.

Per LISC and Verizon

Thanks to a $2.5 million investment from Verizon, we are offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available. 

Become a member or schedule a tour today https://elevate217.spaces.nexudus.com/en

As always, keep up to date with Elevate on social media, connect with us on LinkedIn @ Elevate CCIC, INC., Facebook @ElevateCCIC, Twitter and Instagram @elevate217