PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria County on Wednesday launched a free online dashboard, connecting entrepreneurs starting or growing their businesses with the right resources.

Start a Business Greater Peoria is a digital platform with a SmartStart dashboard tool that helps entrepreneurs find out about area events and connect with mentors from Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Distillery Labs, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, and more local organizations.

“If you don’t know the right people, it’s very hard to find them. So the main point of this platform is to make sure that everyone, no matter their background or their networks, can reach the right people for help starting a business,” said Eden Blair, Peoria County Board District 6 member and chairperson of the Advisory Committee for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development.

Blair said the city is filled with business-savvy professionals willing to lend a hand.

“We have an amazing ecosystem in this area of people who are willing to help others reach their dream and we just want to make sure people know how to contact them, “she said.

The SmartStart dashboard is split into four sections: Customer Development, Nuts and Bolts, Financials, and Getting Out There.

Start a Business Greater Peoria also offers microgrants to entrepreneurs whose business is in Peoria County. Grant applications open Jan. 1, 2023.