What does ranking say about Hoosiers?

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Within the last few weeks, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Vision 2025 report card was released. Indiana ranked 47th (yes, 47th out of 50) in the number of business startups. The state fell from a ranking of 30th in the last report. That’s really sad, because statistics show that the majority of jobs generated are created by small business.

Part of the issue is that startups need support. By year two, just about 5 percent of startups have closed their doors. By year five, that number is up to 70 percent. It’s been proven that when the same startups have some kind of support, the survival number increases dramatically.

In 2013, I created a small business CEO roundtable program called Excel to help startups and Stage 1 businesses (companies with one to 10 employees). With the help of a colleague, Robin Saddler, and the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership, five CEO roundtables were established with over 50 small businesses actively participating.

We tracked jobs created, capital invested and increased sales and profit of each member of the Excel CEO roundtable.

At the same time I launched a small business education program targeted directly at startups and Stage 1 businesses in Hendricks County. The monthly program covered topics that entrepreneurs and small business owners have to learn and master.

Both programs were well received by business owners, the community and the participants and were considered to be a great success. However, when the funding for the Excel program was up for renewal, the program was released in part due to small business and startups not being the focus for the county and the program “did not generate a large number of jobs.”

I don’t want to live in a state where creative and forward-thinking innovators don’t pursue entrepreneurship because of the challenges and the fear of not finding mentors, partners or colleagues to help them survive and flourish. And I don’t intend to move. So let’s figure out what we have to do. For sure we can’t wait to drop another 17 places in the rankings—there aren’t enough states to do that and we are almost at the very bottom now. There is nowhere to go but up. So let’s do it.

Jack Klemeyer
Grow Your Business CoachingBrownsburg

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