Conference Summary

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Over 120 people gathered in Urbana on Thursday, August 29th for the 3rd Annual Illinois Economic Development Summit: Bridging Illinois, formerly known as Downstate Voice.

Focusing on the Executive Summary from last year’s event, the agenda focused on: bridging the differences between rural and urban Illinois to strengthen the Illinois branding message, recognizing the increasing importance of tourism and how it is directly tied to economic development, and brainstorming on how to build greater partnerships and collaborations statewide to better tell the story of communities in Illinois. Attendees heard presentations from 12 different speakers, representing small business as well as local, state, and federal issues related to economic development & tourism.

As initiatives are developed, we will post updates on this site.

Thanks to everyone for their support!

Susan Chavarria, ECIEDD
Brian Moody, TEDI
Carly McCrory, CCEDC


Welcome to the Summit!

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You are cordially invited to the 3rd Annual Illinois Economic Development Summit, previously called Downstate Voice. This year’s theme is Bridging Illinois, and we’ll focus on marketing and branding your community, your region, and the State of Illinois.

Please mark your calendar for a full-day event on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at the Holiday Inn Urbana. The event will be hosted by the East Central Illinois Economic Development District, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, and Tuscola Economic Development Inc., in partnership with sponsors from around the state.

This event is designed to bring together leaders across all parts of Illinois for a day of education, exploration and brainstorming and to create a common voice on economic development issues that will be heard in Springfield and Washington D.C. We hope to create a shared statewide agenda supported by both economic developers and legislators that will spearhead effective economic development for the entire state of Illinois.

We have some exciting speakers and interactive sessions planned to help you and your community:

  • Develop its identity and market your strengths
  • Tell positive stories that can market your community statewide and beyond
  • Learn about social media and online technology as marketing tools
  • Develop your economic development toolbox with help from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Hear some great success stories from other communities in the Midwest

Besides furthering our purpose of creating a common voice in economic development that will reach our legislators and other decision makers, we have the goal of providing plenty of takeaway ideas to participants. We are eager to provide programming that gets away from “all talk and no action” and makes your stay in Urbana worth the trip. Join us!

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Urbana. Please contact 217-328-7900 and ask for the East Central Illinois Economic Development District block rate of $119 to make a reservation.