The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition recently released its Illinois Innovation Index. Among its findings was that over the past five years, students and faculty at Illinois’ universities have founded nearly 1,000 startups, raising $1.24 billion in funding, and creating 3,000 new jobs. But that report only measured 10 universities in Illinois, and Bradley was not one of them.

But I can tell you from firsthand experience that entrepreneurship is alive and well at Bradley. Last week, I had the privilege to attend Bradley University’s “Big Idea” competition, organized by the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The April 23rd final presentation round was actually the culmination of a series of opportunities for students to share their ideas for products, services or solutions to social problems. It was an amazing event. I was impressed by the quality of the presentations, but was not surprised: college students are used to giving excellent presentations. What really impressed me was the quality of the business ideas. I saw how each filled a real customer need and could be a very successful company.
GPEDC is pleased to announce that Andrew Ngui has been hired to serve as our Director of Innovation and Startups. He comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience in the innovation world. 

We are excited to have Andrew join the team and look forward to introducing you personally very soon!
Regenerative Agriculture holds great potential as a tool for both community and economic development in Greater Peoria.

 At the last GP Farm Forum in April, held during the 2019 Mindshare Midwest, a panel discussed the advantages and challenges of Regenerative Agriculture practices on the farm. Beyond ecological benefits, the discussion stressed the importance of these practices for diversifying and revitalizing the farm economy and rural communities.
The first cohort of Co.Starters has started. Two sessions down, seven to go. These ten entrepreneurs are working through the process of customer discovery to fine-tune their business ideas. 

Make you sure you follow our social media channels to learn about each of the CO.STARTERS. Applications for the next round (slated for this fall) will be released later this summer. 
It’s that time of year again! Time to get CareerSpark rolling again. On April 10th, we co-hosted a kickoff breakfast with our partners at Junior Achievement to discuss some of the takeaways from last year’s event and begin planning for 2019.

This year’s CareerSpark will take place on Tuesday, October 8th and Wednesday, October 9th, so don’t delay, get your school registered today! Sponsors and volunteers are need too.
On April 15th, the Shop Local 365 team met to discuss strategies for the 2nd half of the year, as well as some short-term action items.

We came out of the meeting with some great ideas that will help continue to spread the Shop Local 365 mentality and brand. Stay tuned for more details as the campaigns start to roll out!
The 2019 Summer Intern Mixer Series is just around the corner! Our intern mixers consist of weekly events hosted by companies throughout the Greater Peoria area. All interns and working college students in the area are invited to attend.

Each event will be held weekly, on Thursday evenings, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. during the months of June and July.
The Hello Greater Peoria attraction guide is now available in print and digital forms! Click on the image to view the digital version.

This guide is designed to help recruiter and HR professionals recruit and retain talent to the Greater Peoria Region. It was designed in partnership with Peoria Magazines.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is now accepting applications for both growers and processors of industrial hemp. This is exciting news for our region, where interest has been high in the potential of this newly available crop. 

This high level of interest was on full display at our first GP Farm Forum, which focused on industrial hemp. Greater Peoria has all the assets to become a hub of industrial hemp production.
We are looking for a communications intern looking to gain experience with social media management and website development while working with a knowledgeable, fun, and energetic team!
More Good News in Greater Peoria