By Karina Gonzalez | | Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 – The Pantagraph

Novice entrepreneurs across Central Illinois and beyond soon will be able to enlist the help of Coach Charles, a virtual guide that helps people launch a new business.

“ Coach Charles keeps you aware of your goals with daily emails,” said Mike Somers, one of three recent Illinois State University graduates responsible for the idea behind the virtual coach. “You need to check in with Coach Charles and he checks in with you. He motivates you with inspirational quotes.”

Somers and college friends Ben Taylor and Shawn Rhoney, all 2011 Illinois State University  graduates, formed the business 1VBC, which stands for One Virtual Business Coach. 1VBC was one of three finalists at Illinois State University ’s business plan competition during the 2011 Entrepreneurship Day Competition, also known as E-Day.

The 1VBC virtual coaching software is still under construction, said Rhoney, who is developing the computer program. Right now, Coach Charles can help clients set up and manage goals, look up statistics within a client’s business sector and communicate with clients daily via email.

The team already has a small group of clients who are testing the software before it becomes available to everyone as early as 2013. Ammar Haleem, a graduate student at ISU, joined the team early this year as a software engineer intern.

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