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Small business sector "booming" in Peoria

CNN/Money.com has ranked Peoria as one of the best places to launch a business in the U.S., ranking it fifth among mid-size cities and 15th in the nation.

CNN reported more than 100 businesses have graduated from start-up mode this year, and noted entrepreneurs can leverage a vast network of start-up assistance in Peoria.

Playing an important role in helping small business start-ups are Bradley University's business assistance centers and the Peoria Next Innovation Center.

In addition to assistance from Bradley, CNN recognized relatively affordable prices for housing, commercial real estate and lab space, all of which are attractive to start-up entrepreneurs.

One company that has tapped that business expertise is Intellihot Green Technologies, a start-up housed in the Peoria Next Innovation Center. Intellihot founder Sri Deivasigamani commented on the good quality of life in Peoria in a side story, Why I Launched Here. "Peoria has a fairly close-knit community that's accepting of new folks and new ideas. In the past 10 years, the town has gone a long way to help attract people to this region," he said. 

Intellihot won the Launch Competition sponsored locally in September and is a finalist in the statewide Innovate Illinois competition.