Innovation is one of those popular buzzwords you hear all the time. But what it means to some greater Peoria businesses is creating more than just buzz. Alliance Founder and Executive Director Jake Hamann says many of these cutting edge business are unheard of in the community. “One is called Enduvo, one’s called Natural Fiber Welding, another is called Bump Boxes. When I talk to citizens here they don’t even know they exist, but a lot of them are here in our backyard,” explained Hamann.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says innovation can mean a lot of things, but for businesses in Central Illinois, it means learning from the past. “It’s the ability to look at the new and better ways to provide that to the consumers that will create business and create jobs,” said Ardis. He said there is a lot to be proud of in the Peoria community. “From the Ag Lab to a lot of the R and D (research and development) being done by Caterpillar, and the college of medicine and all of our hospitals. We’re talking a billion dollars a year being spent in the Peoria area,” explained Ardis.
Jake Hamann’s vision for the Innovation Alliance, or Peoria Inno for short, has the whole community in mind. “Ultimately, it’s bringing more attention to things that are happening here. Enabling our youth and growing our workforce. When you do those things and quality of place initiatives get better, at some point you start drawing the attention of bigger companies,” explained Hamann.
The Peoria Innovation Alliance is hosting a launch party on May 1, 2019 from 6:30-9:00 at Venue Chisca in the Warehouse District of Downtown Peoria. If you would like to attend you can find details here.