Indiana Celebrates Small Business Week and the Vital Impact Entrepreneurs Have on Thriving Hoosier Economy

Governor Holcomb proclaims April 28-May 4 as Small Business Week in Indiana, IEDC awards small business of the year recognition to eight Hoosier companies

Governor Eric J. Holcomb today issued a proclamation declaring April 28 – May 4 as Small Business Week in Indiana, celebrating the impact Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses have on the state’s economy and communities. Indiana is home to more than 534,000 small businesses that support more than 1.2 million Hoosier jobs.

“Indiana’s economic momentum is incredibly robust today, thanks in large part to the commitment, the work ethic and the spirit of our entrepreneurial community,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Across the state, Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses are creating new solutions, providing critical services, and contributing to the vibrancy and prosperity of their neighborhoods. This week, we honor and celebrate these achievements as we continue to invest in Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem like never before.”

Indiana ranks No. 2 in the U.S. for starting a business by Forbes and has been recognized as a top 40 global emerging destination for entrepreneurship by the Global Entrepreneurship Network and its partners at Startup Genome. The state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has a significant impact on Indiana’s economy and its communities, with Indiana’s youngest companies (under five years of age) accounting for the majority of net new job growth in the state and contributing an estimated $11.5 billion to Indiana’s GDP in 2022.

“Indiana’s entrepreneurs are setting the tone for today’s success and for tomorrow’s progress,” said Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg. “Not only do Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses contribute to the success of Indiana’s economy, but they have a direct impact on the prosperity of their communities, with each successful new company increasing the nearby median household income. At the state level, we’re reinvesting in this network to provide new resources, new funding and new programming to help Hoosier entrepreneurs start stronger and scale faster.”

This week, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) will recognize eight Hoosier small businesses that have worked with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of the IEDC, to start, grow or pivot their small businesses. These awards, presented in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week, honor the entrepreneurs’ and small businesses’ achievements and contributions to grow Indiana’s economy and strengthen communities across the state.

The 2024 honorees are:

  • Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Maverick Electrical Solutions (Quincy)
    Maverick Electrical Solutions, owned by Master Electrician Stacey Shipley, was founded after a clear need and opportunity in the market was identified for qualified, experienced and accountable electrical services. The team at Maverick Electrical Solutions has combined experience in new construction, remodeling, maintenance, commercial, residential, project management and more, and is committed to being a relationship-based business, growing its customer base through referrals.
  • Innovative Small Business of the Year: Tactile Engineering (Lafayette)
    The revolutionary Cadence tablet is the first mass-produced tactile device able to display tactile graphics that move and change, allowing users to experience a whole new way to access dynamic content and multi-line braille, including pop-up highlights and labels, graphs that update in real time, live camera feeds and fast-paced entertainment apps. The mission at Tactile Engineering is to develop and deliver technology that improves life, learning and career opportunities for people with blindness and visual impairments.
  • Family-Owned Small Business of the Year: Owings Patterns (Sellersburg)
    Originally founded in 1975, Bob Owings Patterns has grown from a pattern maker for the foundry industry into a diversified company that engineers prototype and production tooling for today’s most demanding foundry patterns as well as thermoforming applications. Now a second-generation business with the third generation joining the business, constant growth has allowed Owings Patterns the opportunity for significant investment in technology as well as overall capacity and has enabled the company to expand its focus to include the production of thick and thin gauge thermoformed plastic parts.
  • Community Impact Small Business of the Year: BUN’S Soapbox (Valparaiso)
    Founded by Jamie Fankhauser, a registered nurse for over 25 years, BUN’S Soapbox was a bucket list goal that came to life in 2017 and sparked a grassroots retail enterprise. As the business began to grow, Jamie began hiring more employees, with a calling toward young adults on the spectrum. Inspired by her own family member with autism, Jamie observes each employee’s strength and focuses them toward a task where they excel, whether production, labeling, stocking or retail.
  • Small Business of the Year: Primary Record (Fishers)
    Founded by two neighbors, Jean Ross, RN, and Jim McIntosh, Primary Record is an app designed for families to have one secure place to organize, collaborate and share health information with each other and the healthcare team around them. With Primary Record families can search complex medical information and quickly find answers when it matters most.
  • Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Precision Aerial Services (Evansville)
    Precision Aerial Services, led by John Carter, is a drone-based aerial imaging and data capturing company providing geospatial services tailored for land surveyors, engineers, utilities, construction firms and project developers. The company offers aerial/ground LIDAR, survey data, bare earth topography mapping, volume calculations, photogrammetry mapping, 3D reality capture, as-built vs. as-planning monitoring, construction progression monitoring, aerial imaging, 360-degree imaging and UAV consulting to help bring projects to life with precision and efficiency.
  • Start-Up of the Year: Cotton Candy University (Bargersville)
    Grace and Tinley, age 9 at the time, decided to begin a cotton candy business with the goal of saving money for college. Founded in April 2023, Cotton Candy University products can now be found in local retail stores, farmers markets and festivals, and special events.
  • Rural Small Business of the Year: Davis Farms (Underwood)
    Led by Alex and Molly Davis, Davis Farms is known locally for its produce, melons, honey production and eggs and chicken selections. Behind the scenes, Alex has skillfully applied his technical expertise to the family farm, producing significant advancements in both its operations and offerings.

In the past year alone, Indiana has announced a number of new small business support resources, including: the Legend Fund, a new $29 million loan participation program designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses gain access to funds needed to grow; the Community Collaboration Fund, which is allocating up to $1 million this year in grant funding to support community-led projects focused on entrepreneurial education, connection and acceleration; and ConnectIND, a first-of-its-kind digital portal available in 11 languages that is designed to increase support for entrepreneurs and founders.