Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
2022 Annual Report: This past year was a busy and successful one, and we’ve tried to capture at least the highlights in our 2022 Annual Report. We will be mailing these to our investors next week, but if you’d like to see the digital version, click here. I am so proud of the work that GPEDC did last year, and so thankful to the staff for their hard work, our partners for their tireless collaboration, our Board of Directors for their guidance and support, and our investors for making all of it possible. We’re already off to a great start in 2023 and are excited about the year ahead.
Amazon Facility Ribbon-Cutting: The Amazon fulfillment center will be open for operation next Thursday, February 9. Our friends at the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. that day – please stop by. We are proud of the work we did to help this project happen. In 2019, Tom Camper reached out to us after he was contacted by Amazon about finding a location. Tom was awesome to work with and we helped connect him, the building owner and Amazon with local officials and also helped address some hurdles when it came to dealing with the Illinois Department of Transportation. It’s been a long road, delayed like most things by COVID and then just supply chain issues. Exciting to see it open and start employing local residents. (I’m still going to preach “shop local” but it’s nice to have them here, too…..) Read the press release here.
A Good Week for Startups: At the beginning of the week, I was only going to mention one thing about our startups. But as the week went on, more interesting stuff happened. So here it is:
- Fortress Bank has launched a new program called “Bank Tank,” a pitch competition for startups in their service area (across western Illinois and parts of Iowa). The winner of the competition will receive a $10,000 prize. We made sure that all of our startups knew about the competition and signed up. From all the entries received, Fortress selected four finalists and three of them are from Greater Peoria: We Hear You, Bear’s Bites, and ColorForge. I’ll take 75% any day! All three companies are graduates of Distillery Labs’ gBeta accelerator. The competition will be held in Davenport next Wednesday night. If you are interested in attending you can register here. We will let you know who won next Friday.
- Pierre Paul, the founder of We Hear You, was also featured in this month’s edition of Peoria Magazine. Really nice article you can read here by Steve Stein.
- Not to be outdone, another gBeta graduate and Greater Peoria startup, Wild Routed, was featured in a video posted on Inc. Magazine’s website.
Makers Madness: And speaking of competition, one of my favorite contests of the year kicks off this week. Each year, our friends at the Illinois Manufacturers Association look to crown the “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.” Makers Madness nominations are now being accepted at www.makersmadness.com. Any product manufactured in Illinois can be nominated for the contest. Nominations close on February 19, and will be followed by 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 March 29. Previous winners include Caterpillar’s 797F Mining Truck in 2020 (made in Decatur but with lots of ties to Peoria) and Rivian’s RT1 electric truck in 2022 (made in our cousin county of McLean). No one cares who won in 2021. Nominate your favorite product and then watch this space for who to vote for.
Have a great weekend.