February 23, 2024

GPEDC Weekend Update- February 23, 2024

Did you miss me or this email? I’m back from a very nice vacation and ready to get back to work with this great team – none of whom skipped a beat in my absence. Here are some updates to end your week. 

ERC Kickoff: A few weeks ago I mentioned to you that GPEDC was selected to host an Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) Fellow for the next 2.5 years. Dorsey Hill started in early February but the real kickoff happened last week. Dorsey and Kathie, joined by our co-host Andrea Runge of Lincoln Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD), traveled to Portland for the official launch hosted by the International Economic Development Council. They were able to participate in workshops and listen in on panels alongside other hosts, fellows, and partners. (There are 65 Fellows placed with 65 hosts.) The training was an opportunity to meet everyone within the ERC community at large and served as a valuable introduction to the wide array of resources and networks available through the fellowship.  The ERC program has two primary goals:

  1. Build Capacity – To build capacity in under-resourced communities to accelerate locally driven economic development and drive more equitable economic outcomes. 
  2. Develop Talent –  To build a pipeline of the next generation of economic development leaders equipped with the skills and practice to promote a new era of economic prosperity where no one gets left behind. 

We are so honored to have been chosen to host Dorsey and bring more great resources to Greater Peoria. You can learn more about the fellows here.

Champaign-Urbana AgTech: Speaking of Dorsey and Kathie, before they headed west to Portland, they drove east to Champaign. We are blessed with great partnerships that extend across Central Illinois. On February 8, Dorsey and Kathie attended the latest Champaign-Urbana AgTech networking event, a partnership between Champaign County Economic Development Corporation and the University of Illinois Enterprise Works.  These events present a great opportunity to strengthen our connections and leverage regional resources.  During the event, we were introduced to  AGCO Acceleration Center and the Animal Health Virtual Care Hub (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine).  They also visited the Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Hub (iFAB) at the University of Illinois in Champaign.  This hub is among 31 designated Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs (Tech Hubs) by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) — recognizing Central Illinois as a globally competitive center for innovation and job creation in biomanufacturing. Led by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the iFAB consortium includes 30 partner organizations representing academic, industry, government, and nonprofit partners committed to catalyzing industry growth.  Greater Peoria EDC has worked to establish a strong working partnership with IBRL over the past several years and looks forward to engaging with iFAB in support of our regional businesses. 

March Makers Madness: It isn’t quite March yet, but the second biggest tourney in Illinois is getting underway. Nominations are now open for Illinois Manufacturers Association’s fifth annual contest to celebrate Illinois’ incredible manufacturing sector: Makers Madness: The Coolest Thing Made In Illinois. This annual online contest highlights amazing manufacturers, the fantastic products made in our state, and the incredible people who make them. Makers Madness nominations are open through March 3. Nominations can be made only at www.MakersMadnessIL.com. Any product manufactured in Illinois can be nominated for the contest. After nominations close there will be several rounds of online voting, until a final round with the top four products. The overall champion – and title of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois – will be named on April 10 at a special awards luncheon held at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.

Independent Grocers Equipment Grant: Illinois DCEO has released a new grant that will pay 75% of the cost of energy efficiency improvements (up to $250,000) for independent grocery stores, meat markets, and vegetable shops across the state. Grant details here. GPEDC has partnered with Western Illinois University to host an information session this coming Monday, February 26, at 2 pm at East Peoria City Hall (virtual option also available). You can register for the event here. We will be recording the session for those that cannot attend. Please share this information with any independent grocery stores (read: not Kroger or HyVee) in your community.

Have a great weekend. Enjoy our “fake spring.”