Busy Fall For Greater Peoria Business Attraction

Busy Fall for Greater Peoria Business Attraction

Business attraction efforts continued this fall at GPEDC with a handful of activities to build upon our international business relationships.  We are also learning new ways to approach attraction marketing for our region to stay on top of modern digital tools and create meaningful and useful materials to promote Greater Peoria.  And most importantly, we are building stronger partnerships with regional business leaders to create a more cohesive regional message.

International Visits and Visitors – From Japan to the Czech Republic

Consulate General Naoki Ito with Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis during a visit in early fall 2017.

In early Fall, we partnered with the City of Peoria, the CEO Council, the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and other regional partners to host the Consulate-General of Japan during his visit to Peoria.  Mayor Jim Ardis invited Consul-General Naoki Ito to come down from Chicago to see first-hand the great communities and businesses in our region.  Ito-san kindly responded with a day-long visit along with many of his colleagues.

It was a pleasure taking part in the event, which included tours of some Japanese-owned businesses, an informational luncheon to share our region’s assets, and a wonderful dinner at the Pere Marquette.  The entire day was a reminder of how many strong business relationships we already have with some remarkable Japanese companies.   Opportunities for mutually beneficial collaborations were also identified and we look forward to continuing our conversations.

Kim Uhlig checking out a 3D printer during a business attraction visit in Poland.

Kim Uhlig, the Director of Business Attraction here at the GPEDC, also spent a week in Poland and the Czech Republic with our partners at the EAIC.  During that time she met with a pharmaceutical, beauty and health company; a beverage company that already has a small presence in Chicago; a sustainable energy tech company specializing in wind and solar technology; a 3D manufacturing company; a CPA/attorney firm representing several foreign companies interested in a USA presence; two additional startup IT companies; and two other manufacturers.  We are expecting a visit from at least one of these manufacturing companies looking at a USA presence.  Kim also met with those countries’ Chambers of Commerce and the Polish Embassy. 

A delegation representing 5 companies from Finland also visited the Greater Peoria region.  Their visit was a follow up from Select USA held in Washington, D.C. last spring.  Several of our Business Champions and representatives from municipalities attended to provide additional information.  The day ended with a tour at AutonomouStuff to showcase some local technology that could be of benefit to their industries.

Marketing Tools and Materials – Continuous Improvement

To assist Kim in her international conversations, we have been working throughout the year to identify areas of improvement for our attraction marketing.  After some updates to our website, brochures, and a new video earlier this year, we began exploring some of the great new digital tools that are out there to find new ways to spread the word about doing business in Greater Peoria.

Example of a data dashboard being created for new GPEDC data site.

We are now creating an inbound marketing and advertising strategy to improve our online presence.  But most importantly we have put a greater focus on our regional data and making it easier to access and consume for site selectors and businesses looking for the critical information needed for expansion and relocation decisions.  We look forward to sharing a new data-centric website early in 2018 that will make data more easily accessible to the people that need it to make important decisions for our region’s economy.  Stay tuned!

Growing Regional Collaborations

As always, we encourage a collective-impact approach to building a resilient regional economy.  Last summer we were pleased to be invited by the CEO Council to share our business attraction work with them.  We were even more pleased when they asked to get involved and help promote business in Greater Peoria.  This fall we have continued working with their Business Attraction Committee to learn what materials business leaders need to share our region’s assets with their industry peers.  Together we are also discussing ways to create a more unified regional message.

This collaboration, along with our continued partnerships with our region’s chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, is a crucial ingredient to successfully attracting new business to our region.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

As always we try to find and attend the year’s most effective conferences and training opportunities to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and tactics.  Earlier this month our Director of Marketing Tory Dahlhoff attended Disrupt-ED, an economic development marketing conference that aimed to generate creative ways of approaching marketing business attraction and other economic development initiatives.  He had the chance to talk one-on-one with a leading site selector, get marketing insights from some top agencies, and network with economic development marketing professionals from around the country to find out what is working for other organizations.

Kim will also be attending EconoMix again this December.  This event is a great opportunity to introduce Greater Peoria to over 20 prominent site selectors from around the country.  The site selection industry changes as rapidly as the technology these professionals use to access the people and information they need to meet the needs of their global clients.  She will get the latest scoop on how to effectively communicate with them, and have the chance for some necessary face-to-face time to keep Greater Peoria top-of-mind.

We look forward to hitting 2018 with the momentum we have generated this year with our regional partners and international business leaders.  If you have any questions or suggestions regarding business attraction in Greater Peoria – or if you want to get involved – contact Kim Uhlig at kuhlig@greaterpeoriaedc.org or by phone at 309-495-5954