Exploring entrepreneurship and innovation with local authors and illustrators

Our community is teeming with entrepreneurs and many of them might not look like the traditional small business owner. Have you ever thought of an author as an entrepreneur? How about an illustrator? While they may not always use the word “entrepreneur” to describe themselves, they certainly belong as diverse makers, doers and dreamers! We set out to learn about their experience and share their insights as part of the Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship interactive virtual series.

During fall 2020, ASU Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute’s Peoria Forward, the City of Peoria and televëda teamed up to create a four-part series. It brought together local entrepreneurs and community figures to discuss how they met the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, how they are staying engaged and what resources are available to help. Community members were able to watch as well as participate in the live-streamed conversation through televëda’s on-line learning platform.

This series was recorded so that the important lessons and resources can continue to be shared with the community! Links to these videos will be available through posts in this blog. Check out the below list of sessions to see which theme interests you and keep an eye out for the upcoming posts!

Image: Kristin Slice, Peoria Forward, interviewing Mikela Prevost, author and illustrator of “Let’s Have a Dog Party”, in Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship: Part 2

Part 2 of the Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship series introduces two local authors who share their journey to publishing and success. We also meet a resource librarian from the main branch of the Peoria Public Library System. First, Mikela Prevost, author of Let’s Have a Dog Party, discusses her journey from illustrating other people’s books to becoming an author herself. Mikela explains how she had written several stories that failed to be published and how that process made her a better writer. She then shared how important it was to get involved with the local community at the Society of Children’s Book writers and Illustrators as a first step. Through this group and additional research, Mikela was able to learn about industry trends and how to successfully sell a book.

Next, Ginger Scott, author of the Varsity book series and others, shares her love of books and libraries as a starting point for her career. Ginger explains that she initially started in journalism and had been working on her first book for a long time. It was a fear of failure that had prevented her from submitting to traditional publishers but she was able to take advantage of Amazon’s self-publishing platform as an alternative. This allowed her to take a smaller risk and now, 25 books later, she is glad she did it!

Finally, Mary Bass, resource librarian at the Peoria Library main branch, shares how she has innovated library operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary has launched two virtual book clubs and has maintained a great sense of community for Peoria readers! She also shared some of her favorite books for budding entrepreneurs as well as how to get free access to world-class databases for research.

As always, the discussion ended with a great conversation between the guests and attendees!

Video link: Click here to watch Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship: Part 2

Key takeaways from the interviews:

  • It’s ok to fail—you are going to fail. Just figure out how to fail early and small so that you can learn from those mistakes and be better than ever!
  • Connect with peers—no matter what industry you are in, find someone else who has done it and ask them questions as part of your research.
  • There isn’t one correct way to succeed! Keep trying till you find the one that works for you!

Check back next month for the next part in the Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship series!

 Want more information? Visit the Peoria Forward website by clicking here and reach out to [email protected] with your questions or comments!

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