March 30, 2022
Ken Stoner is the new director of SIU’s Illinois Small Business Development Center
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Ken Stoner, a former educator and business owner, is the new director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Stoner has worked as a small business specialist at the SBDC alongside former director Greg Bouhl since June 2013 and since then has already assisted more than 500 new and existing business owners from throughout the region. He said that as a former educator and business owner, he brings real-life experience to the position and he works hard “to turn that into advising and training that is concrete and actionable rather than theoretical. Being a part of these centers has been an incredible experience, as I get to play an active role in the economic development of Southern Illinois, a place I love dearly, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with our region’s small businesses.”
Stoner is a lifelong Southern Illinois resident and completed his bachelor’s degree in education and his master’s degree in workforce education and development at SIU.
His experience includes working as a language arts/reading teacher and technology coordinator at Egyptian High School, technology integration coach for the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents and owner of Kemardia Consulting, a website development and IT service provider for businesses.
He has also focused on experiential education, serving as a facilitator for Jackson CEO, a youth entrepreneurship program. He is active in the community as well, serving as treasurer for the Jackson CEO Board of Directors, volunteer at the Anne West Lindsey District Library, as a citizen adviser to the finance, economic development and operations committee for the city of Carterville and in other roles.
During his tenure with the SBDC, Stoner’s clients have been involved in numerous business startups and expansions, injecting nearly $5 million into the region’s economy while creating 223 jobs and retaining an additional 220 jobs, and his services were all provided at no cost.
As director of the SBDC, Stoner will continue to facilitate and lead workshops on starting a business in Illinois, getting businesses online, trade show best practices, 3D modeling/printing and a wide variety of other topics. He and his staff will also continue to provide confidential, individualized business advising services and resources.
“In this new role, I want to ensure that our center is doing everything we can to help our region’s small businesses,” Stoner said. “According to the Small Business Administration, 99.7% of U.S. employer firms are small businesses, and they generate 64% of net new private-sector jobs. This further shows the incredible importance of small businesses to our economy. We want to reach those considering starting a business as well as those already in business. Also, it is very important that we focus on underserved populations and make sure that everyone knows we are here to help and guide them as they undertake or continue on their journeys.”