Business Matters is a series of brief conversations to check-in with corporate, civic, and community stakeholders to gauge the health and progress of our local entrepreneurial ecosystems across Central Illinois. Where are we at today? Are we making progress? How can we support startups and innovation? This is one of many conversations to discover more about the current challenges, hidden opportunities and future possibilities.


 

20151123_GPEDC_LP_8340Jennifer Daly

CEO

Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

 

What were the highlights or critical moments of 2015 for you?
There were so many! Building our Greater Peoria EDC team, developing key strategies, and helping businesses launch and expand in Greater Peoria.

Do you see any issues, gaps, or improvements that the Peoria-area entrepreneurial ecosystem needs to address?
We need more seed and second stage funding for startup companies.  An accelerator targeted towards manufacturing and the development of a larger makers space are also on our list.

Which would you focus on first?
We are actually working on all three of these projects right now.

What’s your vision for Peoria’s entrepreneurial, startup, and small business future?
A region that offers a dynamic and seamless ecosystem where students from an early age consider themselves entrepreneurs, where entrepreneurs can easily find and connect to essential resources, startups launch every week, and investments in our economy focus just as heavily on innovation and startups as they do on the earthmoving and health care industries.

What do you find most exciting about the current Peoria entrepreneurial scene?
The people are incredible. The team here at Startup Peoria, Bradley University’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, Peoria NEXT, the Central Illinois Angels, SCORE, Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, and all the entrepreneurs working to launch their own enterprises and support others in the ecosystem make Greater Peoria a pretty incredible place to be.