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Peoria County - All News

Posted on: May 18, 2023

Peoria County Announces First Grant Recipients from Start A Business Greater Peoria Program

Start a Business Greater Peoria green and black logo

Peoria County is happy to announce that six local startups were recently awarded grants of $5000 each through the Start A Business Greater Peoria initiative. Of the six businesses selected, two are minority-owned and two are women-owned. The Peoria County Board allocated American Rescue Plan Act funds to support this program.

Kendra Belk
Healing Through Words LLC, Peoria

Tazio Grivetti
Wooshball LLC, Peoria

John Humphreys
Blackbeard Canning Company, LLC, Glasford

Michael Long
Long Talk Auctions, Trivoli

Jeremy Washum
Reservations LLC, Peoria

Andrea Winkler
The Wink House, Peoria

Each of the recipients completed the Start A Business Greater Peoria program, making them well-positioned to be successful entrepreneurs. Their ideas and work have been vetted by at least two mentors in the Greater Peoria entrepreneurial ecosystem, and each worked through the following four steps:

  1. Customer Development – test the idea and determine customer base
  2. Nuts and Bolts – dig into the logistical details of starting a business and legal necessities
  3. Financials – plan for all the financial obligations of the business
  4. Getting Out There – craft the brand and message to reach target customers

“Peoria County is proud to support these local small businesses and startups,” said Dr. Eden S. Blair, chairperson of Peoria County’s Advisory Committee for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development. “Our platform is a monumental tool for anyone looking to start a new venture. The grant is an added enticement, but the step-by-step guide and wealth of knowledge that the mentors impart is invaluable.”

Start A Business Greater Peoria, available at, is a free online resource for those looking to start a business or who are in the early stages of development. The goal of the program is to connect community members to the right resources, at the right time, on their startup journey. The program was launched in October 2022. 

The free program is open to anyone in the Central Illinois area to use. Entrepreneurs who have completed the program and have their business located in Peoria County, or residence in Peoria County for home-based businesses, are eligible to apply for the grant portion of the program. Applications are taken on a rolling basis; the grant review committee will next meet in July 2023.

The idea for Start A Business Greater Peoria came out of the Peoria County Board’s Advisory Committee for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development. The committee includes representatives from the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Minority Business Resource Center, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and Turner School of Entrepreneurship. These advisory committee members also serve as the grant selection team.

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