April 14, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- April 14, 2023

Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:

Upcoming Staff Change: It’s always tough to talk about staff departures because I’m simultaneously happy for the employee getting to move on in their career and sad to lose a valuable team member. It’s been a minute since I’ve had to do this, but wanted to let you know that Kari Rauh, our amazing Director of Workforce Solutions, will be leaving GPEDC in mid-April for a great new opportunity (luckily for us it is here in Greater Peoria). Many of you had a chance to interact with Kari. She helped lead efforts like CareerSpark, You’re Hired, the Good Jobs Challenge, the job board, and Talent Pipeline Management. She handled her job with compassion, professionalism and thoroughness. If I’ve learned one thing in the 5+ years I have worked for GPEDC it is that workforce development in economic development. The team and I will be taking a look at the position description and will be starting the job search soon. This is a critically important role to fill. I’m happy to accept any input you might have. If you wish to send Kari a note, her email is krauh@greaterpeoriaedc.org.

gBeta Kickoff: I’m not at liberty to share too many details, but the newest cohort of gBeta Distillery Labs startups were finalized this week. (I’m not allowed to get ahead of the official press release.) But last night the new group of five companies joined previous graduates and others from the Distillery Labs team for a kickoff party at Louisville Slugger. Why Louisville Slugger? Well part of the evening included playing a new game – WooshBall. WooshBall is a new version of baseball, including a new type of bat that makes it easier to hit, that is being developed by a startup that graduated from the last cohort of gBeta graduates. A fun way to spend an evening getting to know each other. I’ll share the names with you next week.

Kids playing WooshBall in a stadium

Bradley Events: Two great, but very different, events hosted by Bradley in the coming weeks. First, the Turner Center of Entrepreneurship is kicking off a five-part series aimed at helping businesses grow their exports (or start altogether). The first session is about readiness to export and will help companies understand where they are and if they are prepared for foreign markets. This is being held on April 19 from 1 – 2 pm. This is a free class. Register here. Second, the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is hosting the final round of their Big Idea pitch competition for student startups. This is a great event and gives you a potential glance into the next big thing. The event is April 24 from 3 – 5 pm in the Peplow Pavilion at Bradley University. More information here.

Spring Celebration is Back! Thanks to the hard work of the Peoria County Regional Office of Education (and GPEDC board member Beth Crider), the Gerald M. Brookhart Education in Arts Spring Celebration kicks off next Thursday, April 20. Each workday at 11 am and noon a different school will perform on the Peoria County courthouse grounds. The celebration isn’t limited to Peoria County schools – schools come from all over Central Illinois. And the Regional Office of Education has been working with food carts and food trucks to augment the dining options. It’s a great way to spend your lunch hour, even if it isn’t your kid signing. More here.

B2B Grants: Don’t forget to tell your favorite (eligible) business about the new set of COVID relief grants. There are three separate grant programs, one each for restaurants, hotels and creative arts. Through Wednesday DCEO had already received 1,026 completed applications for restaurants, 493 for hotels and 668 for creative arts businesses. Applications accepted through May 10. More information at www.gpcovid.com where businesses can also request help from one of GPEDC’s “Community Navigators.”

Have a great weekend.