Welcome dreamers with new businesses

Keywords Opinion

I view the recent media coverage regarding Litebox’s ambitious plans to locate in Indianapolis as counterproductive to the reputation our city and state have earned for welcoming business with open arms.

Over the past few years, Indiana and Indianapolis have fostered an economic environment that encourages risk and rewards growth. Low taxes, swift and sure regulatory responses, balanced budgets, great infrastructure and terrific universities are just a few of our attributes. We have embraced all dreamers, large and small, foreign or domestic, high-tech or smokestack, proven or unproven, and the private sector has put Hoosiers to work.

Not surprisingly, some firms have surpassed our original expectations, others have produced less-spectacular results. However, some of the best innovations and biggest job deals would not have come to fruition if not for our leaders’ willingness to support entrepreneurs who are willing to share their dreams with us. For example, Comlux is an overseas company with a vision to become a leading provider of luxury interiors for private airplanes. The company selected Indianapolis for its U.S. location, and after several years, it employs hundreds.

In any healthy economy—much less one that has been in recession—some ventures do not work. Although citizens certainly should urge our state and city officials to do appropriate due diligence, it is impossible to predict with certainty winners and losers among established companies, let alone new ventures.

We have an economic development system in our state and city in which taxpayers put nothing at risk. Unless Hoosiers get hired, there are no financial incentives.

So I urge we not be so quick to find the negative. I urge our citizens and our public servants alike to continue to do what they can to encourage entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes to keep central Indiana on their first list of options and to create an environment in which those entrepreneurs know they are welcome to dream their dreams with us.

Wouldn’t we all prefer those dreamers to perceive central Indiana as a welcoming neighborhood in which to lay down their roots and their jobs?


John Neighbours
chairman, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce

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