A Resource for Business Growth

Thomas O'Neill III, Peoria County Board

Peoria County's commitment to growing the county and retaining local businesses is demonstrated by its fortification of an economic development department established in 2011. The department now includes an assistant county administrator for economic development and both a regional and a rural economic development coordinator. This team of experienced professionals is charged with attracting new business to the county and to the region, as well as helping local businesses in our community become stronger or expand.

According to the Small Business Administration, family-owned businesses account for approximately 90 percent of all businesses in the United States. These businesses are a powerful force as they create nearly 80 percent of the net new jobs, greatly impacting local and regional economies. As a result, Peoria County targets a significant portion of its business retention efforts to small and family-owned businesses in the county.

Business owners are encouraged to contact Peoria County for the following professional and confidential development services:
• comprehensive and custom research, including community, labor and demographic information
• search assistance for site location
• connections to resources such as the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, Workforce Network, and others
• assistance with minority business development
• coordination with state agencies and local units of government for
economic incentives
• options for project financing.

Peoria County recognizes that financing can be an obstacle for families hoping to expand their business. Sometimes, a funding gap occurs between a family's personal investment and a financial institution's commitment to a business expansion. To close this gap, the County participates in a Government Assistance Program that offers qualified business owners low-interest loans up to $150,000. In addition, the county board recently adopted new micro and macro loan programs to offer business borrowers more financing options.

The County also recognizes that another major challenge facing family-owned businesses is the issue of business succession to future generations. Survey research has shown that a vast majority of family owned business owners see their company controlled by the same family in the next five years; however, little preparation or succession planning has been undertaken to transfer ownership or management to future generations beyond five years. In an effort to help local businesses, Peoria County can play a role in connecting family-owned businesses with resources specifically geared toward succession planning.

Whether family-owned or not, small or large, looking to start, looking to expand, or looking to the next generation, Peoria County is here to help your business. Contact our economic development professionals and together we can grow the community, the county and the region. Visit peoriacounty.org or call (309) 672-6056 for more
information. iBi

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