By Sally Hanley, Director of Business Assistance

20151102_GPEDC_ 155-EditEach year, I get to meet with 100 of our regional employers to understand their progress, challenges, and future plans, and to provide assistance whenever possible. The visits are a part of our business assistance program, a program we call Elevate Greater Peoria. Of the 101 employers I met with in 2016, 31 are planning expansions that will generate over $100 million in new investment over the next three years! What great news for Greater Peoria!

While some companies are preparing for expansions, others are working hard to keep what they have. In fact, 11 of the employers I met with are considered at risk based on their input. The GPEDC and our regional partners are already working hard to provide resources, programs, and direct assistance to help these employers identify new markets and pursue new sales.

Most of our Elevate GP visits generate follow-up requests and 2016 was no exception. Our visits generated the opportunity for our team to provide 166 business solutions to clients, based on their needs. Whether helping someone resolve an issue with a service provider, access financial resources through a revolving loan fund, or connect with resources for workforce development needs, these follow-up actions can be critical to helping employers identify solutions to programs that impact their growth.

Existing employers typically generate 75% – 80% of a region’s employment growth, which makes our Elevate GP program absolutely critical to our regional economic development strategies. We have already begun our 2017 employer visits and we can’t wait to continue providing support to the primary engines of our region’s growth.