News Room

13th Annual Innovation Celebration: Save the Date + Nominations Open

We are pleased to announce the 13th Annual Innovation Celebration in recognition of those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University’s economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in our community.

Thursday, March 29, 2018
5:30 – 8:30 pm

Parkland College – Student Union
2400 West Bradley Avenue
Champaign, IL 61821


The awards have been established to recognize the various ways in which individuals and organizations have utilized innovation, creativity, and leadership for entrepreneurial endeavors and economic development in the community. Please nominate as many people/organizations as you would like.

Nominations are open to the public and will be accepted through 5 PM on January 24, 2018. Submit your nomination(s) here

Nominations will be viewed and judged by a panel of past winners, sponsors and community & university leaders. Finalists will be announced in early February 2018.

Innovation Celebration is hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Parkland College, and community sponsors.

For sponsorship information, please contact Carly McCrory via email or 217-359-6261.

To learn more about the event, view past award winners, watch our videos, and RSVP, visit our event website.

Awards & Descriptions

Innovation Transfer Award-University of Illinois
Recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois whose research has resulted in either a discovery or a work with the potential for significant societal impact.

Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award-University of Illinois
Recognizes an individual or team from the University of Illinois that has channeled their experience living with a disability into positive change through the creation of new products, environments, or protocols that enhance quality of life.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award
Serve as change agents by creating and implementing sustainable solutions to reshape society, benefit humanity, and address social concerns.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award
Formed by students in the last three years and demonstrates a commitment to continuing success through entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award
Formed in the last three years, and demonstrates a commitment to continuing success through entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Advocacy Award
Actively engage, encourage, coach and mentor entrepreneurs in the community, and provide extensive support to help them achieve success.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award
Demonstrates expertise in assembling resources, creating an organization, and working to build and implement effective action plans.

Innovation: Economic Development Impact Award
Has made a significant economic development impact in the community and continues to demonstrate their commitment to Champaign County.