According to Gary Camarano, Whiteside’s Economic Development Director, “Innovative businesses create a stronger, more competitive local economy, and are keys to a wealth and job creation, attraction of other businesses and quality workforce, and contribute greatly to a community’s livability. We want the Sauk Valley Innovation Awards to be a means of celebrating our innovative businesses, fostering an innovation climate in the region, and give our innovators a chance to network and possibly collaborate on other creative and innovative projects.”
Dr. David Hellmich, President of Sauk Valley Community College added, “Innovation is often the difference between a business that is merely surviving and one that is thriving, and when businesses thrive, the community benefits. They create better paying jobs, attract outside dollars and investment, and attract talented people. We at Sauk Valley Community College want to contribute to the region’s innovation culture and help it grow. We believe innovation can be taught, supported and grown in a community, and that the results can be transformative.”
The nominating period for the Sauk Valley Innovations Awards opened August 15th, and will run through September 30th, and will be followed by networking events for the nominees and the community, and an award ceremony in late October. Nominees can be large or small businesses, private or public sector, high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech, be headquartered in the region, or have a presence in the region where the innovation was developed. The SVIA will be looking for new products and services that have been introduced within the last three years and can be shown to meet unfulfilled market needs.
Locally the innovation environment has seen increased activity. Businesses continue to introduce new products and services, an Arts District is being started in Morrison, construction of an Innovation Center is planned at the Morrison Institute of Technology’s campus, Rock Falls is bringing true gigabit connectivity to the region, and the Whiteside Area Career Center’s CEO program continues to work with the region’s young entrepreneurs and innovators. Camarano said, “This all bodes well for the Sauk Valley Region, and all of our partners are committed to keeping the innovation culture here growing.”
To nominate an organization, product or service contact Shannon Stafford/Small business Development Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-835-6244 for a nomination form. Nominations will be accepted up to September 30th.