we've started

something big.

our flagship programs

Social Innovation


Collecting high-quality data and research evidence and applying it in ways that increase the positive impact of social programs and services. Innovate Springfield's Social Innovation Program is a catalyst for building our community’s capacity to serve its most vulnerable residents as effectively as possible through the use of evidence-based programs. >> Learn more


Business Incubation

Accelerating the growth and success of startup and early-stage companies by offering access to services and supports. Innovate Springfield's Business Incubation Program aims to support entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development through our collaborative space, office amenities, high-quality capacity-building programming, and community of entrepreneurs and expert advisors. >> Learn more


a little history

Our story starts way back in 2012 - the dot-com bubble had already burst and was beginning to swell again, Tesla Motors was about to release it's model S, and some folks started having conversations about how a social innovation and business incubator might actually work in Springfield, IL.


They doubled down on those conversations and sprung into action. Innovate Springfield was formed as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln in 2014. Board members were recruited, and a search for physical space and executive director began. We've been rockin' and rollin' ever since!

Innovate Springfield is proud to be the home of:
  • 90+ Members (incubated, coworking, and students) 
  • 2 Entrepreneurial Support Organizations
  • 1 Coffee Partner
  • 4 Advisors offering office hours to members
  • 8,000 zoom webinars
April 2021
We said farewell to our founding Director, Katie Davison, who went on to serve as the State Relations Director with Northern Illinois University.
May 2020
We hired our Social Innovation Program Director, Hillary Rains. Hillary came to us from the Lincoln Library and knows all the resources and supports named in the Sangamon Success Report.
June 2019
We hired our Office Manager, Trish Schlobohm, who came to us from the University of Illinois Springfield and knew ALL THE university processes.
December 2018
We said farewell to Nadia who went on to serve with Ounce of Prevention in Chicago, IL.
August 2018
We became a university-led incubator through the University of Illinois, Springfield.
March 2017
We hired our Business Incubation Program Director, Sarah Beth Ayers, who hit the ground running to enhance the member experience through the implementation of high-quality programming, community building opportunities, and an inspired space design. 
October 2016
We hired our Social Innovation Program Coordinator, Nadia Gronkowski. Nadia quickly made connections with local service providers to spread the word about the concept of social innovation.
June 2016
We opened our doors at 15 South Old State Capitol Plaza and began accepting applications for membership. 
February 2016
We hired our founding director, Katie Davison, who worked day and night building furniture, recruiting members, and spreading the word about these two new (to Springfield) concepts called business incubation and social innovation!