Galesburg's success in attracting green and socially responsible companies to the Sustainable Business Center drew attention last week at the 24th Annual Rural Community Economic Development Conference in Peoria. Attendees from around the state turned-out to learn about the innovative companies at the two year-old incubator and the progressive model developed to help them grow.
Eric Dilts and Ryan Lilly of the City of Galesburg's economic development department delivered the presentation in two concurrent sessions. "We were impressed by how well our sessions were attended and humbled by the congratulatory feedback we received. Most encouraging, however, is that other economic developers want to replicate this model in some form elsewhere," said Dilts.
Lilly agreed saying, "This was about more than sharing a success story. This was an opportunity to engage with other economic development professionals in meaningful dialogue about the future of startups -- including those that are socially-responsible -- in our rural communities."
The conference, hosted by the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs (IIRA), aims in part to showcase novel approaches to community and economic development. "We certainly felt this was a stand-out project that conference attendees would be interested in learning about," said Dr. Chis Merrett, IIRA Director. "At least one conference attendee remarked that it was the best session they attended that day."