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Last-minute shopping? Shop local! The iSPI Holiday Shop makes it super easy for you to find something special for everyone on your list and support the local economy in a meaningful way.
Studies have shown that local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar as they create locally owned supply chains and invest in their employees. Data also shows that local businesses return 52 percent of their revenue back into the local economy, compared to just 14 percent for national chain retailers. 
To put it another way, the money we spend locally will generate three and a half times more wealth for the local economy compared to chain-owned businesses.
We put a lot of energy into creating interesting and engaging content, and we truly value your time so click below to jump to the iSPI newsletter content you want:
Crimson Fox Design Co.
Think about all of the businesses/events you've been to. Whether it’s a business you've popped into while on vacation, a tribute band concert, a friend's business you hang out at, or the coffee shop you find yourself at on your hardest days…
Generally, you bring a piece of that business or event home with you. Why? We create and attach ourselves to our best memories. To someone out there, your business houses their best memories, and they'd love to carry that feeling of belonging with them, and their show support by wearing your merchandise.

Crimson Fox Design Co. offers highly individualized graphic design services for community-centered businesses. 

Just the Basics Mobile Bar
Offering a mobile bar and bartending service, including signature drinks and local partnerships, Just the Basics Mobile Bar is anything but basic.


Legacy Weavers Video 
Legacy Weavers Video offers a highly personalized way of helping you to craft your story as a legacy gift to others. Creating a beautiful video to allow you to share your story with those whom you choose may seem a daunting task. With that in mind, they will take the time to help guide you through a process of selecting what it is you want to say and to whom you wish to share it. ​


Lifestyle CPA
Evelyn Ivy, CPA, and founder of the Lifestyle CPA offers personalized accounting and tax services for individuals and small businesses. Take the headache out of tax season, and leave it to The Lifestyle CPA.


Shine Light Therapy
Scripture-based meditation and journaling in an easy-to-follow format allows you to explore freedom from anxiety in body, mind, and spirit one step at a time. Come to understand eight ways trauma affects you and complete easy guided exercises to heal. Released includes bonus material and suggestions for extending your healing experience.

Shine Light Therapy (and Yoga) offers natural solutions to pain and stress to help people of all ages enjoy life abundantly.

Whimsy Tea Company
Whimsy Tea Company sources the highest quality teas the world has to offer and makes them available at truly affordable prices. Get cozy this holiday with one of their specialty blends!

Whitney DeBerry Virtual Solutions
Have you ever wondered if you need a social media strategy? The answer is Yes! A social media strategy is an essential part of any brand’s digital marketing presence. A strategy will set guidelines for how your business plans to conduct business online and achieve your goals.
As a special holiday gift to you and your small business, Whitney has created a FREE downloadable social media strategy template that will take your social media to new heights!

​Whitney DeBerry Virtual Solutions provides small businesses with quality social media marketing services, from strategy to execution. 

Visit the iSPI Holiday Shop
Innovate Springfield Holiday Hours
The Innovate Springfield office will be closed beginning December 24, 2021, and will re-open on January 5, 2022. iSPI members, you always have 24/7 access to the community space with your keyfob.
We wish you all a happy and safe holiday and look forward to seeing you next year!
Holiday Reflections // A Walk Down
iSPI Memory Lane
Innovate Springfield was founded in 2015 as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. This past week, we pitched on behalf of Innovate Springfield to a group of statewide and local community leaders and stakeholders showcasing our origins, our programming, the members that we serve, and the growth that we have experienced since being founded, and since our transfer to the University of Illinois Springfield in 2018.

It's been six years since the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln took a risk on us, and three years since our transfer to the University of Illinois Springfield. As we embark on this next phase of our organization, we can't help but reflect on the investments of our founding organization and all of the individual community leaders who contributed their time to serve on our founding Board and Steering Committees and feel a sense of gratitude.

From the very bottom of our hearts, thank you. Your investment in our community is paying off right before our eyes and we feel truly fortunate to represent Innovate Springfield, the Univesity of Illinois, and to wake up every day in service of the members of Innovate Springfield.

Being a community-based incubator is one of Innovate Springfield's unique advantages in the business incubation space. Our founding organization, our funders, our expert advisors, our community supporters, and the members that we serve are all deeply embedded and invested in our community.

We are honored to stand and continue to build upon this foundation and welcome you to join us.
  • If you're interested in supporting Innovate Springfield financially, you can contribute securely and directly via the University of Illinois by clicking this link and searching for "Innovate Springfield."
  • If you're an expert in your field and you're interested in volunteering your time to support the members that we serve as part of our Growth Advisory Panel program you can complete a short intake form here.
  • If you're an expert in your field and you're interested in serving iSPI members via by-appointment office hours, or you'd like to provide programming to the Innovate Springfield network we'd love to meet you! Please email us at and introduce yourself.
We won't stop saying it, we simply would not be able to provide the value that we do and create the impact that we have without the contributions of our community investors and supporters. Bottom line. Hard stop. This work would not be possible without you. Each and every one of you is absolutely critical to our continued success and we are truly honored to know you, to work with you, and to call you our friends.
Thanks for being here with us!
Innovate Springfield Holiday Mixer
It's been so long since we've been able to convene in-person and it was really quite lovely to connect with our friends and community members to celebrate this most wonderful time of year. Special thanks to Just the Basics Mobile Bar for supporting our monthly happy hour and annual Holiday Mixer events!

With Just the Basics Mobile Bar, you pick the drinks and they do the rest. Their beverage catering is designed to fit your event. Whether you choose to use their [adorable] new trailer, tabletop bar services, or their beyond basic bartender services, they will help make your event extra-special.
Cheers to the iSPI Community!

Save the Date: Strategic Visioning

Save Thursday, January 13, 2022, from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM on your calendars for a Strategic Visioning session with Innovate Springfield member Stephanie Fuller, founder of Iris Consulting Services.

Additional details and registration information to follow!

Unlocking the Potential of the Veteran and Military Spouse Workforce: Understanding the Military Community

Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
Time: 5:00 PM - 6 :30 PM
Location:  Zoom
In collaboration with Rogers HR Consulting, this presentation will help participants to...
  • Understand the employment barriers, challenges, AND assets of the military community as well as the different employment needs of veterans and military spouses.
  • Become familiar with the current employment trends related to the military community including unemployment rates for veterans and military spouses.
  • Learn to articulate the employment business case for hiring from the military community.
  • Learn best practices across the employee lifecycle, applying HR strategies to military-connected employees.
A little about the presenter ...

Founder and CEO of Rogers HR Consulting, Donna Rogers Skowronski, graduated magna cum laude with a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Human Resources Development (HRD) from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). While studying at U of I she was initiated as a member of the International Honor Society in Education: Kappa Delta Pi and the Professional Society of Vocational Education: Omicron Tau Theta.

Her Human Resources career began in 1991. Ten years later she was certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and has continued to recertify currently through February 2025. She also earned the Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and has continued to recertify currently through February 2025. Most recently she earned the International Public Management Associations Certified Professional (IPMA-CP) designation which does not expire until December of 2025.

Register Here.
The application is LIVE for our Spring 2022 CO.STARTERS Cohort at Innovate Springfield. The spring cohort will run on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM starting February 16 - April 20, 2022.
CO.STARTERS is a proven effective program that walks a small business starter through the business model canvas and supports them through their customer discovery process. 92% of CO.STARTERS go on to launch their business, and 97% are still in business a year later. 

Starters leave the program with the confidence, connections, and know-how to turn their startup dreams into a reality.
They say things like ...
  • My facilitator absolutely made the program! She was great!
  • Honestly, I've learned more from this course than I have in and of my college business courses. Sarah and everyone have been so motivating and encouraging throughout the whole process. I couldn't have gotten any of these experiences from my college courses.
We're really leaning into this YouTube Channel thing and feel like everyone should sprinkle a little learning into their YouTube and Chill routine.
Check out our most-watched video of 2021, The Art and Psychology of Design in Marketing presented by Innovate Springfield and Hellowater.
Don't forget about our iSPI Hacks, Self-Care for Starters, and other GREAT content on the iSPI YouTube Channel.
Scope the Full Lineup of Events
If your organization is looking to promote job and internship opportunities this Spring – make plans to attend the Career Expo at UIS. Employer registration for the Spring Career Connections Expo is now open.
The Expo will be held on Thursday, March 31, 2022, from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM in The Recreation and Athletic Center on the UIS campus.  

To register for the event as an employer:

  • Please log in or create an account on UIS CareerConnect:
  • Locate the Attend Events shortcut on the right side of your screen and click on the 2022 Career Connections Expo Fair link or go to the events section on the left side menu and select career fairs/expos and click the link to sign-up under the appropriate 2022 Expo event.
  • If you don’t see the attend events section, or If you need assistance with registering, please call us at 217-206-6508, email for support.

Registration Levels are:

  • Government/Non-Profit: $50.00 *(A very limited number of fee waivers are available for government/non-profit organizations on a first come first serve basis and only available to organizations with financial hardship that will be actively recruiting for positions at the time of the event)
  • Corporate For-Profit: $150.00
  • Advantage Partner/Sponsor: $400 (Only 5 available!)
Additional details regarding these levels and what is included can be found in the online registration form on UIS CareerConnect.
The 6th annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from early-stage entrepreneurs around the world. 

$1,000,000 USD in prize money will help accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.
Click here to learn more about the challenge, eligibility requirements, and to apply by February 11, 2022.
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