The role of Peoria NEXT is to actively recruit companies and generate revenue for the area. Recruitment brought me to the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum, held in February in St. Louis. Over 300 people attended the two-day forum, where representatives from more than 40 technology-driven companies, based all over the country, gave presentations on alternative energy, life sciences and technology. The forum gave attendees the chance to network with one another, as well as identify many available recruitment opportunities.
All start-ups need financial support to grow their businesses, but many are also seeking out cities in which to base their companies. The Peoria area has the necessary structure in place to assist such start-up companies. The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center provides wet/dry labs and office space for start-ups. The NEXT Steps forum offers start-ups the opportunity to pitch their companies’ business plans and receive feedback on their presentations. In addition, potential investors attend NEXT Steps, so some presentations result in investment offers.
Since we have the necessary resources to support these start-up companies, we should actively recruit them to grow their businesses in our region. Attracting start-up companies will greatly benefit the Peoria area; every new business generates additional revenue and betters our economy. Technology-driven companies, in particular, are important to our area because the commercialization of technology is a part of our overall economic development strategy. Technological advances generate new jobs and improve the standard of living for the entire region.
Regional growth is dependent on the introduction of new technology, as well as on our ability to recruit new businesses to the area. We have to showcase the region’s ability to offer start-up companies what they need. IBI