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America's Best Cities For Global Trade 2015

Peoria, IL

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Written by Haylle Sok

PEORIA, Illinois
Population: 115,828
Unemployment: 6.2 percent
Key Investment: $2 billion in research
and development

Peoria’s $2 billion investment in research and development is emblematic of the kind of commitment this region has made toward business and exports; witness the fact that just a couple years ago it led the nation in exported merchandise per capita. Besides investing capital, the area is promoting technology scouting and training to support local companies in their own technological development. Given that kind of commitment, it’s not surprising Peoria was ranked in the top 10 by Forbes as the best place to start a business.