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Mattoon in Motion is operating on all cylinders. A lot of great things are happening or planned in the near future. The Cross County Innovation Center, which won the Google.org Impact Challenge Grant and People's Choice award for a total of $325,000, will now be nicknamed "Elevate." A large number of names were proposed for the Center and "Elevate" was selected. The thoughts around the term include:

  • "Elevate" your Business.
  • "Elevate" your Community.
  • "Elevate" the Area's Economy.

The actual legal name of the 501(c)(3) entity will be: Elevate CCIC, Inc. Elevate will be a collaborative workplace for entrepreneurs of all ages to start up and grow their businesses. It will also be the home of ClassE, the area high school's entrepreneur class. We will provide business start-ups with all the tools they need to achieve business success including mentorship, gigabit fiber optic internet services, 24/7 access, a dedicated mailbox address and a welcoming, interactive, and warm environment.

Elevate is working on a partnership with Lake Land College to offer prospective entrepreneurs a 27-hour, tuition waivered, associate entrepreneurial program. The program will provide them education in all aspects of starting a business including courses in Accounting, Business Law, Financing, Marketing and Economics.

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The Robust Economy Committee of Mattoon in Motion is working on finalizing Elevate'ss business plan and financial structure. We are working closely with Rural King on plans for the demo and construction of Elevate to tentatively start in mid-June. The proposed open date will be in late October. The Google.org component of the project has lead to national recognition. We have received many inquiries about Elevate and how progressive and innovative it will be.

The Workforce in Motion Committee is partnering with the Mattoon Community School District and especially Mattoon High School to develop a Manufacturing/Business Fair for high school students and their parents to learn about all the employment opportunities available here locally. The tentative date for this fair will be September 26, 2019. The Workforce in Motion Committee is also working with our local industries and Lake Land College to continue to develop educational partnerships leading to guaranteed full-time employment.

The Housing, Parks and Recreation, Tourism, and Youth committees are working hard to keep the momentum going in the other areas of Mattoon in Motion. We have a dedicated group of volunteer community members and business leaders making great things happen locally. For more information about Mattoon in Motion, or if you are interested in participating visit www.mattooninmotion.com for all the details.

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Ed Dowd is the executive director of the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce.

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