News Room

Greg Gonda Receives Accredited Business Planning Advisor (ABPA) Designation

Greg Gonda

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Gregory J. Gonda, the Illinois Small Business Development Center Director has successfully attained the professional Accredited Business Planning Advisor designation (ABPA).

Mr. Gonda attended Accredited – Certified Business Planning Advisor training in New Orleans this past September at the National Association of Small Business Development Center’s 2012 Annual Meeting.

This advanced training program is offered nationally by The Apogee Center for business consultants, financial advisors and economic development professionals. Gregory was part of the second national class of professional advisors trained by The Apogee Center to assist rural and at-risk urban business owners and their communities with the coming wave of business owner retirements.

Apogee President, Odee Ingersoll said, “We are thrilled to have Gregory as part of our second national graduating class of professional advisors. Gregory’s participation demonstrates his long-term commitment to business owners and economic development in Champaign County and the surrounding region.”

Nationally, up to 70% of existing business owners are expected to leave their business over the next 10 years or less; as many as 52% by 2017. ABPA and CBPA advisors provide comprehensive exit and succession planning services to small business owners who have been unable to afford these advanced services until now, in an effort to support communities and their economies. The ABPA / CBPA program is the only nationwide program of its kind to direct services to the small business owner and to the community they do business in.

“The numbers are almost too large to comprehend. Think about 50% to 70% of the businesses in your community right now. Now consider what your community looks like if half of those were to close in the next few years. That’s the magnitude of what communities are facing as early as 2017. Combined with much tighter lending requirements, less available financing and a lagging economy, it’s clear small business owners need help like never before,” Ingersoll said. “If this wave is not addressed aggressively in each community, it can start a downward spiral that will ripple outward and affect entire regions. But it can also be a great opportunity for owners and for younger entrepreneurs – with planning and action now, it can be a win-win situation. That’s why it’s so important to have someone like Gregory available locally.”

Gonda says “The program’s goal is not only to ensure the owner has the greatest number of opportunities to successfully sell or leave their business at maximum value, it also introduces the concept of NxGen Entrepreneurship© – using the purchase of an existing business as an alternative path to entrepreneurship for many would-be business owners. Developing a local buyer or successor keeps the existing businesses in place, contributing to their communities. It also provides an opportunity for new local wealth creation. This is an opportunity that many prospective entrepreneurs would never have had available outside of this program of service.”

Mr. Gonda is one of over 100 professionals from over 22 U.S. states and provinces including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to train to assist business owners with increasing their business’s value and preparing for a successful exit or family succession event.

The ABPA and CBPA training program is available nationwide to professionals from Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and to financial consultants including Accountants, Financial Planners and Attorneys. It’s also available to college or university entrepreneurship programs, community staff, utility representatives and economic development professionals.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center provides professional guidance to small, medium and start-up businesses in Champaign County and East Central Illinois resulting in job creation and economic expansion. The counseling services are free and include topics such as finance, marketing, human resources, cash flow issues, and accounting.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center is located at the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation at 1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820. For more information, visit or call 217-359-6261.


The ABPA is the first level of accomplishment for the professional. Each advisor will continue to work toward their Certified Business Planning Advisor designation (CBPA) as they begin to bring their experience and services to owners who need to plan a successful business exit or succession.

The program is especially important to rural and at-risk urban communities where developing or attracting new businesses is already difficult; where lost businesses and the employment and impact they create may not be successfully replaced.

Published research shows that approximately one-third of existing business owners plan to sell their business to someone – but 80% of existing businesses are not ready for such a sales attempt. Another one-third wants to transition their business to a family member; 65% of these family succession events fail. The final one-third plan to sell down their inventory and close their doors.

ABPA – CBPA local services include community and owner education, business valuation and planning tools, premium marketing and industry research, value enhancement recommendations, a comprehensive business exit or succession plan, and up to nine opportunities for a successful business exit for any owner. The advisor can also demonstrate how owners can increase the final value of their sale or exit by 70% or more, and help their community create new wealth and entrepreneurship opportunities for the next generation.


Carly McCrory, Communications Director
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation
(217) 359-6261