Pritzker visits SIU's small business development center - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Pritzker visits SIU's small business development center

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WSIL -- Democratic candidate for Illinois governor, J.B. Pritzker, made another stop in Southern Illinois on Friday.

Pritzker toured the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU, where he got a close-up look at the work entrepreneurs are doing.

"I wanted to come see the incubator, see the development of entrepreneurial ventures here on campus," said Pritzker.

He noted that he started a small business incubator called 1871, which has created 6,000 jobs.

Last year, SIU's small business development center found itself in danger of closing due to the budget impasse.

Some small businesses said if the center ever closed, it would be devastating.

"That's a risk. That's a very real risk to us. We would have to find alternative and most-likely more expensive laboratory space to go into," said John Yingling, the CFO of Thermaquatica, a small business that developed an environmentally-friendly way to turn coal into high-value liquid products.

Pritzker said Gov. Rauner is to blame for the ongoing budget crisis.

Pritzker said Illinois has a lot of economic potential.

"First, you've got to have some leadership and some vision about it because it's not like it's impossible," said Pritzker. "It's just that we've got a governor who's folded his arms."

Pritzker said as governor, he would make sure universities are fully funded and that programs like small business incubators are strengthened.

He said both are vital to economic growth, especially in Southern Illinois.

"I happen to think that Southern Illinois has been forgotten by so many politicians, and it should be front and center," said Pritzker, who has visited the region more than any other Democratic gubernatorial candidate so far. 

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