Peoria recognized for innovation on new list

Local News

After naming the River City the fifth worst in the nation for African-Americans, 24/7 Wall Street says Peoria is one of the most innovative cities in the country. 

The site ranks metropolitan areas based on patents granted in 2015 per 100,000 residents, patents granted in 2015, population, and the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Peoria ranks 22nd overall and is the only city in Illinois listed in the top 25. 

“We, Caterpillar, the Ag lab are major players in the number of patents that are issued here,” said Kevin Evans, director for small business development at Bradley.

Leaders at Peoria Next Innovation Center, which operates under Bradley University, say they provide an entrepreneurial environment that enables success through shared knowledge and resource collaboration.

“This building, this idea of Peoria Next, which has been a 10-year, 11-year project now, is really starting to pay dividends in terms of collaboration between the entities here and it has really stayed true to working and functioning as a community,” said Evans.

Machinery giant Caterpillar also contributes to the ranking. 

Kevin Evans says this distinction is proof that Peoria’s stereotype is changing from manufacturing toward a new wave of technology.

“Traditionally people have thought of Peoria a really heavy manufacturing place to live, work and be,” said Evans. “It is rapidly becoming a technology based to live, work and be.”

The article specifically mentions Caterpillar’s presence in the area, as well as the NEXT Innovation Center at Bradley University. 

You can see the full report here.

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