A morning-after question: Now what?

Now what, Indianapolis?

Our collective Super Bowl fever broke overnight, ending five years of hopeful anxiety over hosting the big game. We passed the test.

Super Bowl XLVI has come and gone, and the city didn’t just survive—it thrived thanks to an exceptional combination of mild weather, engaged residents and Hoosier hospitality.

The community undoubtedly will benefit from the experience, but no one can just sit back and wait for the payoff. Lots of work remains—especially for small businesses.

As IBJ reported last month, the NFL’s Emerging Business Program aims to open doors for minority- and women-owned businesses seeking a sliver of Super Bowl spending. And it has, helping local firms land procurement contracts with the league and its affiliates.

But as organizer Marshawn Wolley told the 400-plus companies in Indianapolis’ Emerging Business database time and again, being on the list isn’t a guarantee of financial success. That still requires lots of hard work (and a fair share of good luck).

“There are limited opportunities and nobody is going to get rich,” he said. “We are trying to position businesses beyond the game. It’s what happens afterward that is important.”
So here we are, after the game. The celebrities are gone, the red carpets rolled up. Before long, the Super Bowl will just be another line on Indianapolis’ increasingly impressive resume. Now what?

How can businesses harness the attention and excitement that came from a job done well and turn it into an entrepreneurial success story?

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