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Monticello Bootcamp

A FREE 5-week business training program & $5,000 grant opportunity for start-ups!
Registration for Spring, 2017 is NOW OPEN!
Weekly classes held 6-9pm
Monticello Livingston Center, Monticello
Registration Required. 

THE VISION-                    

A key pillar of economic development in our community is to promote the start-up and expansion of local and small businesses.  Statistics show that most business growth in any community occurs in smaller businesses.  To achieve this vision, the business community must promote the spirit of “entrepreneurship” among aspiring business owners in order to create and add as little as “one job at a time” to the economic base of our community. 

With this vision in mind, the following program is being implemented to encourage and reward financially those prospective business owners who choose to start a business in Monticello.  In essence, Monticello is taking an organic, “grow from within” approach that educates, engages and follows up with our new business development.
THE CLASSES- (tentative lineup)

Classes are open to the public.  Participants do not have to attend all classes, unless they are interested in the grant.  All classes are free and held at the Livingston Center, Monticello, from 6pm - 9pm.  Speakers will be announced closer to the program opening.

Week 1 - February 21st
  Welcome to the Journey
     Samantha Koon, Owner
     Zybell House Bakery & Market

  The Cliffsnotes Version of Entrepreneurship
     Michael Lejeune, Senior Consultant
     RSM Federal 

Business Plans: Your Playbook, elevator speech and lifeline
     Don Elmore, Director
     C-U Small Business Development Center

Who is your Customer?  Market Potential in Monticello
     Kerry Redshaw, Executive Director
     Monticello Main Street

The Bootcamp Grant
     Callie McFarland, Director of Community Development
     City of Monticello                 

Week 2- February 28th
  Understanding, Not Underestimating Credit
     Bob Guido, Mortgage Loan Officer
     Iroquois Federal Savings & Loan

  A Man Walks into a Bank... How to Be Prepared and Not Be a Bad Joke
     Mark McHale, Community President
     Iroquois Federal Savings & Loan
  How SBA Programs Can Work for You
     Chris Crider, Community Bank President
     First-Mid Illinois Bank & Trust

Week 3- March 7th
Taxes, Balance Sheets, Payroll and More
     Kelly Finet, Owner
     Kelly's Accounting Service

Simple Steps for Starting Your Business... Legally
     Derke Price, Partner
     Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCanni & Krafthefer, P.C.

  Navigating Through a Real Estate Lease
     Jill Guth, Broker
     Guth & Associates
Week 4- March 14th  
  (Re)Vamping Your Marketing Strategy
     Natalie Kenny-Marquez, Director, Market at the Square
     City of Urbana

  Build Your Brand, Grow Your Business
     Samantha Koon, Owner
     Zybell House Bakery & Market

  Would you do Business with You?  How to Keep and Win Customers
     Anne Matelonis, VP Marketing & Development
     First State Bank, Monticello

Week 5- March 28th
Community Resources and Programs- Where to Go From Here
     Callie McFarland, Director of Community Development
     City of Monticello

  Business Plan Presentations
     Bootcamp Grant Applicants

  The Hotseat with Small Business Owners- Q & A Panel

The purpose of this competition is to encourage the development and start up of businesses in our community, to further the creation of jobs and revenues.  Individuals who demonstrate they are in the process of starting a new business in Monticello's downtown within three months of the date of the award, will be eligible for a grant of $5,000 to be given as part of the Monticello Bootcamp program.

Statistics show that most new business failures are a result of the lack of business planning.  A mandatory five-week class, plus a written business plan must accompany the application as support for the business idea, product or service.  Each applicant must be able to demonstrate that an actual business will be started, including the products or services to be provided.  While a proposal focusing on retail is not required, consideration in one of the identified retail sectors from the retail trade analysis accompanying this program is encouraged when applying for the grant.  

1.  The City of Monticello and Monticello Main Street will award one grant totaling $5,000 reimbursable funding for mortgage/rent and utilities for the top business proposal.

2.  The proposals are encouraged to consider one or more of the business needs identified in a recent retail survey and a recent market trade analysis, specifically:
  • Sit down restaurants
  • Specialty Food & Beverage Stores (bakery, meat and deli, health foods, wine and spirits, etc.)
  • Apparel stores (men's, women's, children's, formal wear, etc.)
  • Jewelry, accessory and shoe stores
  • Art gallery/studios
  • Building materials, garden equipment and supply stores (nursery, tools, etc.)
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book, music and music equipment stores
  • Live music and entertainment venues
  • Gift and specialty stores

Business plans may incorporate one or more of these.

3.  Business proposals will be scored using several criteria: Strength of the business plan, experience, match with local needs, etc.  Grant is $5,000 per round of Bootcamp, and requires a minimum of one (1) full time and one (1) part time employee, payment of all applicable business licenses and applicable taxes, etc.

4.  The decision of the judges is final.

5.  Attendance is mandatory for all five classes to be eligible for grant, which includes presentation of the business plan and personal interview during week 5.

6.  Each selected business owner (grant awardee) agrees to meet at least monthly with a designated "mentor" for a minimum of 6 months after the grant award to share information, go over financials, etc.

7.  Each grant will provide up to a maximum of six months or $5,000 towards rent and utilities, whichever is exhausted first.  The grant is reimbursable upon presentation of receipts at the end of the month, as long as the business owner continues to meet with the mentor.

8.  Grant awardee will be required to participate in Monticello Main Street activities, including special events.

9.  Additional monies may be available through Monticello Main Street's Façade Improvement Grant Program.


1.  Eligibility.  Any "new" qualifying "for-profit" business endeavor that is to be located within Monticello's Downtown, and is "new" to the City of Monticello, is eligible to apply for the grant.  A 'new business" is defined as one that will start up, or plans to start up within three (3) months from the date of the award.  Additionally, someone who is interested in purchasing an existing business within downtown Monticello, but currently does not own an active business may apply for the grant.

2.  Required Information.  Each application (business plan) must contain at least the following information to allow the judges to adequately evaluate the plan.
  • Market research into the feasibility of the product or service.  This can be something as simple as the retail trade analysis, or a basic survey on competition and potential customers within your trade area.
  • Capital start-up needs and cash flow projection 24 month minimum.  How much money do you need to get going?  And how much will be coming in as a result of your efforts?  (Be realistic).
  • Management Team Profile, including experience.  Who's running the show? 
  • Executive summary, including product or service description.  What exactly are you going to be doing?
  • Clarity, thoroughness and neatness of submission.  Make it organized, well thought out, and comprehendible.
  • Number of individuals projected to be employed.  Include yourself and others.  Remember, part of the grant requirement is to have plans for 1.5 employees.
  • Timeline for Startup.  Nothing happens overnight, and certainly things never go as planned.  Be realistic and be reasonable.
  • Marketing Plan.  How are you reaching your customers?
  • Proposed ownership and/or legal structure of business.  Is this a sole proprietorship?  A partnership?  A corporation?
  • Principal location of the business in the City of Monticello.  While you don't have to sign on the line for a lease before the grant competition, you should have a space in mind, with knowledge about the operational costs within this space.

3.  Judging.  A business plan presentation and personal interview will be conducted with the finalists of the selection process, along with an assessment of the likelihood of success of the venture.

4.  Participation.  It is required that persons interested in applying for the grant participate in every session in the training that is designed to help aspiring business owners learn business fundamentals.

5.  Award.  The grant award will be the decision of the judges.  Grant funds will be used to offset up to six (6) months of rent and utilities- or $5,000 (whichever comes first) - for the winning business.


Participation in this course is FREE!

Registrations for the 2017 Monticello Bootcamp are now open! 


This program would not be possible without generous support of many businesses, individuals and organizations. 


City of Monticello

Farnsworth Group, Inc.

Fehr Graham

First State Bank of Monticello

Kirby Medical Center

Monticello Main Street

Piatt County Board

Marty and Kerry Redshaw

State Bank of Bement

Frerich's Real Estate Team, Keller Williams


Callie Jo McFarland
Director of Community Development, City of Monticello
217.762.2583 x28

Kerry Redshaw
Executive Director, Monticello Main Street