Economic development is never a simple process. A company rarely chooses to locate or expand in an area based on one factor. More accurately, it is a combination of factors that attracts companies to a specific region.
The key to promoting a community is to emphasize the strengths inherent in its structure. These assets will attract the type of company most likely to succeed and develop lasting roots in the region.
For the tri-County area, three industries have been designated as highly appropriate and desirable considering the existing strengths of the community. These industries are agribusiness, telecommunications/information technology, and health care/medicine.
These three industries were chosen for their compatibility with the existing business base found here. In terms of economic development, these industries are thought of as separate clusters. A cluster is a targeted segment of industries that would fit in especially well in a community, finding an existing network of suppliers, consumers, and complementary partners to work with.
In a mature cluster, the various elements feed off each other, allowing one another to grow and flourish in a mutually beneficial environment.
The foundations for an ideal cluster include many things, among them the presence of educational facilities fostering and turning out highly skilled labor, access to venture capital, incubators and research centers, and quality of life to rival other similar communities.
The environment of the tri-County area is primed for the advancement of the three targeted industries. Take the health care cluster, for example. The tri-County health care system has the ingredients for an excellent regional reputation.
Our hospitals have state-of-the-art equipment available and excellent sub-specialists that communities of similar size simply do not have.
Research-driven companies involving high risk ventures have an easier time relocating employees to expansion sites in areas such as this one, where similar jobs can already be found.
Existing research facilities include the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research. Leading health care employers in the area include OSF Saint Francis, Methodist Medical Center, Proctor Hospital, and Pekin Hospital, with many other medical offices located throughout Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties.
These strengths all paint an attractive picture of economic potential for the tri-County area. Fortunately for the central Illinois region, the package looks even more impressive when you include the high quality of life, low cost of living, favorable logistics, and friendly yet competitive business environment. All things considered, the tri-County region of central Illinois really does have the natural package. IBI