Startup Peoria is a grassroots movement to enable a community of thinkers, doers and innovators in Central Illinois. The big idea is an all encompassing, thriving ecosystem –that we know already grows around here–to connect at multiple levels . We’re talking talent in all essential areas necessary to sprout startups, such as designers, developers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, the business savvy, and investors. En route, we will establish infrastructure, for lack of a better word, that continues to grow by feeding itself. This includes training, collaboration, and mentorship in all areas mentioned.
In Startup Communities, Brad Feld says, “I strongly believe that startup communities can be built in any city and the future economic progress of cities, regions, countries, and society at large is dependent on creating, building, and sustaining startup communities over a long period of time.”
When one considers the resources available here in Central Illinois, a simple connect-the-dots yields the makings of a vibrant entrepreneurial startup community. Peoria boasts some of the nation’s best educational institutions, industries and natural resources. We have discovered and worked with talented designers, developers, engineers, project managers, marketers, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and investors.
Let’s review. Talent, check. Interest, check. Plenty of players and resources, check. The missing piece, until now, has been a proper environment to enable a community to form and work together. Check. Let’s go cultivate a thriving, self-sustained ecosystem.
WHAT IS DRIVING STARTUP PEORIA?
For nearly half of a century, the term “startup” has been synonymous with Silicon Valley. Until a few decades ago, those serious about a launching a tech company likely considered a move to Silicon Valley. For decades the Valley has attracted the very best entrepreneurs, business majors, tech school grads, computer scientists and the like, including those grown right here in our own back yard.
There’s nothing wrong with a vibrant Silicon Valley, of course. It thrives on. But the rate of advancement in technology combined with consumer uptake is outpacing the innovation from this one corner of the world. And, it turns out some who have the chops to enter a startup community don’t actually want to move to the west coast.
Enter Startup Peoria. We have taken cues from author Brad Feld from his book Startup Communities. We have linked arms with UP Global, Startup America and the Illinois branch, Startup Illinois. More importantly, we have already begun meeting many of the local players interested in building a vibrant startup community right here in Whiskey City. The movement has begun.
It is important to state that Startup Peoria is not looking to become the next Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is unique. Almost as unique as Peoria.