Bradley Receives Federal Funding and a Local Gift to Support eCommerce for Local Businesses

February 1, 2021

Bradley University received funds under the 2020 Federal CARES Act to help local small businesses recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. The funds are managed by Bradley's Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) within the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship. With this funding, the SBDC has implemented a number of offerings to help local retailers and restaurants strengthen their eCommerce strategy.

“Though many restaurants and retailers have some online presence, they may not have fully adopted a complete online strategy,” said Jim Foley, Director, Turner Center for Entrepreneurship. “Some have Facebook accounts or basic websites, but consumers increasingly expect easy-to-use eCommerce options.”

This new eCommerce program is utilizing Bradley students who have been trained on best practices in eCommerce for restaurants and retail stores. Through researching over 350 Central Illinois restaurants, Bradley's students found that there are still many restaurants that have not implemented online solutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They also noticed that many restaurants are using high-commission platforms rather than newer options that are available at a lower cost.

This project received the attention of the Gilmore Foundation, a local, private foundation that supports the development and improvement of the Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties, which resulted in a $10,000 gift to support Bradley's SBDC programs in Peoria County.

"Bob Gilmore was always focused on the needs of our local economy. With so many local small businesses being dramatically impacted by the pandemic, we are pleased to support the efforts to help make our restaurants and retail stores stronger," said Gilmore Foundation’s President Laura Cullinan.

There is no cost for this eCommerce assistance. Interested businesses should contact Bradley's SBDC at