Community Corner

Editor’s Note: The Community Word offers this column to various agencies and governmental organizations in an effort to inform the public just what it is that they do for our Peoria-area community. This month we are proud to present two contributions!]


The Heartland Partnership is a family of companies working collectively to help the Greater Peoria Region grow and prosper. The Heartland Partnership provides strategic leadership, coordinates resources, and brings to life initiatives that will develop, grow, and nurture our regional economy. We are focused on economic development, creating a more productive business climate, enhancing our regional image and increasing the regional quality of life by creating a more vibrant community. All of this helps move our region from good to excellent.

The Heartland Partnership family of companies is comprised of the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois, the Heartland Capital Network, the Heartland Foundation/CEO Roundtable, the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Peoria NEXT, and TransPORT. All of these companies share the common goal of enhancing economic development and creating a brighter tomorrow for everyone in the region, especially for the next generation: our children.

We work towards this goal not only by focusing on attracting jobs and talent to the region, but also by providing support to the businesses that have already made a commitment to our region in order to help them expand and grow. In addition, we also reach out to growing industries so they will consider locating or expanding to our region and we help to prepare our regional communities for that growth. There are no geographic boundaries for the positive impact of our efforts. Regionalism is one of the keys to our organization.

We work hard to enhance our regional image. The Greater Peoria Region holds an amazing mix of commerce and countryside. We are both connected and progressive with so much to offer. We cannot just sit idly at the sidelines. It is important to be proactive as the voice for our Region and show them what they’re missing here. We actively showcase this region with coordinated regional marketing efforts, but it’s also important to remind residents just how vibrant the region is. We work vigorously to improve the quality of life for the people who live here because after all, businesses need employees and if the quality of life isn’t acceptable they’ll move on. Improving the quality of life involves building pride in the market and energizing people, embracing diversity and promoting education. We accomplish these things through a multitude of channels to effectively reach residents.

Success has many definitions. Some measure success by meeting financial goals, others by becoming a crucial commodity. For some it’s defined as racing to the top of their industry. At The Heartland Partnership, success is all of that and, most importantly, making a difference in the economy and business vitality of our community. We are real people, doing real work and getting real results that shape our future.

Peoria County Reaches Out to MBE’s

Peoria County government wants to help local business owners and entrepreneurs expand or start their business in our county. We are particularly intent on helping minority, women, and disadvantaged business owners (collectively, MBE’s) increase their presence in the local business community. As a result, the County Board has created a Minority Business Enterprise Ad-hoc Committee to advance the County’s goals of building MBE capacity, increasing bid opportunities for local minority business owners, and raising awareness of available resources.

The first step in helping local minority, women, and disadvantaged business owners is to learn where help is needed. Therefore, the MBE Committee has scheduled a series of outreach meetings to give local MBE’s an opportunity to meet with committee members and County Board members to discuss common challenges or obstacles that may prevent a business owner from expanding or an entrepreneur from starting a business in Peoria County. The MBE Committee will then use this information to develop a strategy for helping local minority business owners overcome the most prevalent obstacles.

In addition, the MBE Committee has developed a Needs Assessment Survey to complement our outreach meetings and serve as another means for gathering pertinent information. Minority, women, and disadvantaged business owners, or those interested in starting a business, are encouraged to complete the survey at  The survey is also available on Peoria County’s website,, and business owners and entrepreneurs who attend an outreach meeting will have an opportunity to complete the Needs Assessment Survey during the meeting.

Interested persons may attend any of the following public outreach meetings:

March 15, 6:00 p.m.Brimfield High School Library323 E. Clinton St, Brimfield

March 20, 6:00 p.m.Peoria NEXT Innovation Center801 W. Main St, Peoria

March 22, 5:30 p.m.Tri-County Urban League317 MacArthur Highway, Peoria

March 23, 3:30 p.m.SWAN2000 W. Pioneer Parkway Suite 18A, Peoria

March 31, 9:30 a.m.Alpha Park Library3527 Airport Rd, Bartonville

March 31, 1:00 p.m.Peoria Humane Society2600 NE Perry, Peoria

Peoria County urges local minority, women, and disadvantaged business owners to attend an outreach meeting this month to share their thoughts, challenges, and concerns with the County’s MBE Committee. These meetings are a great opportunity to tell us what your greatest needs are when starting or expanding a business in our community. For more information on the outreach meetings, please call Jenny Fulton, Peoria County’s director of strategic communications, at (309) 672-6918.

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