West Central Illinois Businesses Well Represented at Innovation Awards

The nominations for the 21012 Chicago Innovation Awards are in, and the Galesburg/West Central Illinois Region will again be well represented with 13 area businesses nominated for this prestigious award. Last year, of the 409 total nominees the Galesburg/West Central Illinois Region produced 10 nominees and three finalists, and this year’s crew looks equally impressive.

The Chicago Innovation Awards were founded ten years ago by Tom Kuczmarski, President of Kuczmarski & Associates, an Innovation Consulting firm, and Dan Miller, Business Editor of the Chicago Sun Times. According to Kuczmarski, “We started the
awards because we were tired of hearing the Midwest called ‘the Rustbelt’. The awards are a way to recognize and celebrate innovation here in the Midwest, and a survey of our past winners showed that they created over 10,000 new jobs, added over $21 billion in revenues and received 1,009 new patents. Innovation is what helps companies, and the economy to grow and thrive.” Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director for the EBI Network added, “Our Galesburg/West Central nominees are making a statement that innovation can happen anywhere – small towns, rural America, not just large cities – and their impact on local economies can be very dramatic. Companies like these are the engine for job growth in our country.”

This year’s nominees from the region include Lamboo, Inc., Sitka Salmon Shares, Alexis Field House Co., Flipple, Blackburn Sampling, Inc., Green Winds, Fusion Tech, Inc., the Sustainable Business Center, the En Season Café, Allen Environmental, Inc., Trustivo, and Pennycress Energy Co. While there are several repeat nominees in this year’s group, they are joined by newcomers Lamboo, Pennycress Energy, Allen Environmental, Alexis Field House, Sitka Salmon, and Trustivo.

2011 Chicago Innovation Award attendees represent West Central Illinois.

The nominees are a varied group of companies involved in finding new building materials (Lamboo, Inc.), to finding ways to deliver sustainably caught fish direct to consumers (Sitka Salmon), providing easy infant feeding (Flipple) and developing a cover crop with renewable energy potential (Pennycress Energy). Bob Blackburn, CEO of Blackburn Sampling, a repeat nominee, commented, “The EBI Network got us thinking more innovatively, and we have responded with a new patent, a larger facility, three new employees and a dramatic increase in sales. Innovation can help any business. Whether it’s a new product, a new way to reach your customers or a new way to produce your product, innovation can help. I’d encourage any business to contact the EBI Network and find out more about the innovation programs they can become involved in.”

The 2012 Chicago Innovation Award finalists will be announced in September and the 10 award winners will be acknowledged at the award ceremony on October 22, 2012 at the Harris Theatre in Chicago. Last year’s event filed the theatre with over 1500 attendees including many of the Midwest’s top executives and industry leaders. For further information on the Chicago Innovation Awards or Innovation Programs for Businesses please contact Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director of the EBI Network by email at gary.camarano@ebinetwork.org or by phone at 309/371-0474.

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