Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Soft Landing: Given some recent success in connecting with smaller foreign companies looking for their first US location choosing Greater Peoria, we put a bit of marketing sizzle around the services we offer. Introducing “Soft Landing Greater Peoria.” Our offer to foreign startups and other small enterprises is that we offer concierge services in making the Peoria area their new home. That could be connections with a local real estate agent, providing free office space at the Nest Coworking, introductions to local leaders, referrals to banking or other services, and connections with potential customers and partners. We’ve created a flier and website to help tell this story. Lenora took the flier with her to Select USA in Washington, DC this week – the largest US trade show for foreign companies looking to connect with the American market. (More on Lenora’s trip next week.) We have also started sharing the information with our foreign consulate partners.
March Employment and Jobs: Late last week IDES dropped the local employment and jobs reports. The numbers for Greater Peoria look good, but still a ways to go. The labor force number grew modestly by about 700 between February and March, but the number of “employed persons” increased by nearly 1,800 in that same period. That contributed to a pretty big drop in the regional unemployment rate, from 5.3% in February to 4.7% in March. On the jobs side, the Peoria MSA added 1,400 jobs between February and March (and there are 6,400 more jobs in March 2023 than March 2022). The biggest month-to-month gain was in “Business and Professional Services” (+900), which I have learned is where “temp agency” jobs get counted, even if they are working in manufacturing. The biggest year-over-year jump was in Education and Health Services (+2,000). You can dive a bit deeper at the DataHub. The chart below shows the trajectory of jobs and employment over the past 12 months in the Peoria MSA.
gBeta #4: I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but Distillery Labs’ gBeta selected five local startups to participate in its fourth business accelerator. This broad group of companies are focused on sustainable fashion, targeted online fundraising, animal health, personal health and wellness and applications for artificial intelligence to improve work and personal lives. You can read more about the selected companies and the gBeta accelerator in this press release.
You’re Invited: The City of Peoria is hosting two sets of community meetings to launch its new strategic plan, which will establish the priorities of the city for the next 2-5 years. Participation is not limited to City residents. Business owners, employees, neighbors and others who have a vested interest in the future success of Peoria (and that should be all of us) are invited to join the conversation. The kickoff events are on Thursday, June 1, and Friday, June 2 at the Peoria Civic Center. There will be two sessions per day. The morning sessions are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and the afternoon sessions are from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please RSVP here by May 26.
Strategy Reports: The first week of the month is always Board meeting week, which also means monthly staff reports are also available. Check out the great work being done by GPEDC staff here. Check back here to track updates on the Plan and other opportunities to engage.
B2B Grants – Last Call: Just a few days left for restaurants, hotels and creative arts businesses to apply for Illinois Back-to-Business grants. 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.