Metro East seeking trade deal with Peru
Representatives of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) International Trade Development Center and the South American nation of Peru are slated to finalize a mutual business development pact this week.
The agreement follows a two-day visit (Dec. 2-3) to Metro East by East Ricardo Perez Luyo, director of the Peruvian Ministry of Production’s National Diversification Program.
“Peru: A Friendly Country for Doing Business” — a luncheon for area business leaders was held Dec. 3 on the SIUE campus to “highlight business opportunities in Perú, key sectors, the latest investment projects and how to increase a business’ footprint in Latin America,” according to a university statement.
Peru has had the fastest-growing economy in Latin America for the past decade and is actively seeking to expand overseas business relationships, according to Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the SIUE International Trade Center.
It has the fifth largest population (32 million) in Latin America but the third largest economy in the region.
The nation has averaged a 5.5 percent annual growth rate over the past 10 years; while also maintaining Latin America’s second lowest inflation rate — 3.6 percent. Poverty levels in Peru have decreased from 42.4 percent in 2007 to 21.7 percent in 2017.
“Favorable external characteristics, prudent macroeconomic policies and effective structural reforms have boosted Peru into middle-income country status,” Bowman assessed in an SIUE statement.
According to a government website, Peru has “the best reputation in Latin America,” according to polling by the U.S.-based Reputation Institute in the United State.
Its major trade partners are the United States, China, Brazil, the European Union and Chile.
The Metro East meeting is part of an ongoing effort by Peru to expand international relations.
Formal parties to the Metro East development agreement are the University of Lima business development program and the SIUE International trade center. The SIUE center is a function of the university’s Small Business Trade and Development Center) International Trade Center.
This week’s luncheon program is co-sponsored by the Southwest Illinois Trade and Investment Council.
It will “highlight business opportunities in Perú, key sectors, the latest investment projects and how to increase a business’ footprint in Latin America,” according to the SIUE statement.
There is no cost, but pre-registration is required.
The event takes place from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the SIUE campus. Birger Hall. 30 N. Circle Drive. Edwardsville.
To register, contact via e-mail at International-Trade-Center@siue.edu with attendee name, company name and e-mail address. Registrants can also call (618) 650-3851 / (618) 650-2452 or visit www.siue.edu/business/itc
O’ Fallon, St. Clair County projects honored
O’ Fallon’s Downtown District and St. Clair County’s Head Start Apprenticeship Program were recognized with Local Government Achievement Awards (OLGAs) during the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) annual meeting and awards program, Nov. 13.
Downtown O’Fallon is experiencing a resurgence thanks to the new O’Fallon Station — a pavilion which has become home to a weekly farmers’ market and other activities, according to the EWG. The project was a joint initiative of the City of O’Fallon and the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce.
The St. Clair County Head Start Apprenticeship trains parents of children in the Head Start program as teachers for the program.
In addition to helping low income families find employment, the program helps Head Start centers address a teacher shortage, according to Rick Stubblefield, executive director of the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants & Economic Development Department.
Costs for the apprenticeship program are covered under a federal grant.
The awards are presented by the EWG annually to recognize extraordinary work by individuals, municipal and county governments/departments, special purpose districts and public educational institutions in Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois and Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties, and the city of St. Louis, in Missouri.
First SBA flood damage Loan deadline is Dec. 9
Homeowners, renters and businesses, that sustained damage to tangible property in designated Illinois counties during 2019, have until Dec. 9 to apply for recovery loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issues disaster declaration in wake of floods
The SBA offers low interest loans to help repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. In addition, homeowners and renters can apply for loans to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and private non-profit organizations can apply for loans to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
The loans are available in the Metro East-area counties of Madison, Jersey, Calhoun, and Greene, and in 13 other Illinois counties.
While applications for physical property damage loans must be filed by Monday, Dec. 9, the deadline to return economic injury applications is July 10, 2020.
For information or to apply for a loan, should contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 800- 659-2955.
Applicants can also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155.
An SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers will be open at QEM Fire District building, 14905 Elsah Road in Grafton, Dec. 2-5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For additional information and resources related to flood recovery, visit www.ready.illinois.gov.
‘Jingle Hike’ returnsto Metro East Parks
Metro East’s fourth annual Jingle Hike Challenge is underway.
Participants have six weeks to visit MetroEast parks, find the jingle bells attached trees in 12 of the parks, take a selfie with the bell, and post the photo to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #jinglehike. Participants can also email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All those submitting photos will be entered in a drawing to win prizes. Those finding six or more of the bells will be entered to win a grand prize — an experience for up to 10 people at SIU Carbondale’s Touch of Nature.
Bonus drawing entries will be awarded for correctly identifying the tree species. Other prizes include gift cards from the Alpine Shop and apparel from Toolen’s Running Start.
In addition, any image featuring a dog will be submitted or the grand dog prize, courtesy of Country Estate Kennel.
The 2019 Jingle Hike Challenge began Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) and runs through New Year’s Day.
The annual effort to encourage outdoor activity is sponsored by the Belleville-based HeartLand Conservancy and St. Louis-based Alpine Shop, one of the areas’ largest outdoor sporting supply retailers.