Innovation Celebration is not merely an award for accomplishment, but a benchmark of success for those outstanding individuals, organizations and corporations who are nominated and selected to receive this prestigious award. Additionally, Innovation Celebration serves as a tangible collaboration between the Champaign County EDC, University of Illinois, Parkland College and the community — one that clearly establishes the power of cooperation and a united vision.
Innovation Celebration is hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and community sponsors.
Thank you to all who have been and continue to be a part of Innovation Celebration. We have grown from about 40 attendees in 2006 to more than 350 in 2017. The event is such a great way to honor those who go above and beyond in helping to nurture and grow our community.
View photos from our 2017 event here. View videos from our 2017 event here.
Nominations are open to the public and will be accepted through 5 PM on January 24. Finalists will be announced in early February.
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.
Innovation in Engagement Award—Parkland College
Recognizes an individual or group at Parkland College who has shown support of the college’s community engagement mission.
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.