State Honors Small Businesses' Successes

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(photo courtesy Indiana Economic Development Corp.) (photo courtesy Indiana Economic Development Corp.)
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As part of Small Business Week in Indiana, the state is honoring 10 Hoosier businesses with the Small Business Impact Award. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the recipients demonstrate the importance of small businesses to growing the state's economy.

The awards honor small businesses that received business counseling at each of the Indiana Small Business Development Center's 10 regional offices throughout the state. The SBDC provides guidance and resources to entrepreneurs on how to start and grow a business, including strategy development, business planning and valuation, export assistance and market research.

"Last year alone, the Indiana SBDC supported entrepreneurs across the state in their efforts to start more than 300 companies, create 1,054 jobs and secure nearly $90 million in capital to propel their businesses," said IEDC President Elaine Bedel. "As a state, we'll continue to build on this momentum by strengthening Indiana's entrepreneurial ecosystem and providing Hoosier innovators with the resources and expert counseling needed to help start and grow their dream businesses."

The 2018 Small Business Impact Award recipients are:

Carts Gone Wild (Haubstadt)

  • Started by Dana and Tony Hallam out of their garage in 2003, is a one-stop golf cart shop for new, used and custom carts. The company offers automotive painting, air brushing, battery sales, custom audio systems and a full maintenance service department with skilled technicians. At its southwest Indiana facility, Carts Gone Wild has a newly-renovated nine-acre facility with a 7,000-square-foot showroom to showcase their wide variety of products.

Dreams to Reality Cakes (Peru)

  • Opened by internationally-trained pastry chef Sandra Tossue, makes custom designed specialty and wedding cakes, pastries and cookies. In 2015, Tossue purchased a coffee shop adjacent to the bakery, which together serve as a cultural amenity to the community. The bakery also remains active in local philanthropy by donating to charities and fundraisers and hosting students at after-school events.

Equis Medical Consulting (Union City)

  • Founded by Bryan Conklin and David Zimmer in 2013, specializes in remote monitoring services for cardiac recorders, pacemakers, defibrillators and other clinical devices. With a staff of highly-trained medical technicians, the company provides daily patient monitoring, clinical data screening and patient information analysis for medical practices and hospital systems.

Global Medical Industries (Fort Wayne)

  • Founded by Victor Lopez in 2016, specializes in manufacturing medical device products, which include precision instruments and parts for upper and lower extremities including spine and joint procedures. The company is the only minority-owned medical device supplier and manufacturer in Indiana, receiving certification from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Home Sweet Home Renovations (Brazil)

  • Started by Shaun Evanson and Tracy Webster in 2017, transforms blighted residences into affordable, quality homes. To attract and keep families in west central Indiana, Home Sweet Home Renovations focuses on remodeling and reselling homes that are in poor condition. Since starting the business, Evanson and Webster have purchased nine homes and sold four of them.

Karma Cigar Bar (Merrillville)

  • Founded by Dhiren Shah along with his wife, Arpita Shah, and business partner, Ronak Baxi, in 2004, is a cigar lounge and retail store in northwest Indiana that draws customers from the region. Karma Cigar Bar has a 400-square-foot walk-in humidor and more than 85 square feet of humidified wall and floor display cabinets. Along with creating an inviting, elegant space, the company deploys social media and marketing campaigns for its tastings and in-store events.

Laser Graphx (North Webster)

  • This company has provided quality custom marking services for the medical device and orthopedic industries for more than 25 years. The company specializes in laser etching, pad printing, color coding and screen printing. Laser Graphx was acquired in 2017 by employee Jeffrey Wilson.

Syndicate Claim Services (Indianapolis)

  • Founded by Josh Morgan in 2006, provides property and casualty claims adjusting services for clients across the U.S. With a focus on customer service and a quality claims product, the company delivers 24/7 daily claims assistance along with its national catastrophe program. In 2017, Syndicate Claim Services was named one of Business Insurance’s Best Places to Work among small businesses nationally.

The Bee Corp (Bloomington)

  • Co-founded by Ellie Symes, Simon Kuntz and Wyatt Wells in 2016, The Bee Corp is an agriculture technology software company that supports commercial beekeepers and their hive operations. The company has developed two solutions for beekeeping, including the Queen’s Guard Hive Alert System and QGPS Hive Theft Tracking System. Bee Corp has raised angel and venture capital finance along with a new SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation.

Thompson Outdoor Power Plus (Dillsboro)

  • A family-owned and operated outdoor power equipment dealership for residential and commercial customers, municipalities and small farmers. The company carries equipment ranging from name-brand, electric-string trimmers and chainsaws to gasoline-powered, zero-turn mowers and compact tractors. Since starting the company in 2013, Donnie Thompson has quadrupled the company’s building space, expanding to more brands and used farm and garden equipment
  • Perspectives

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      Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the country and more than a third of the state’s GDP comes from the industry. The health and wellness of Indiana’s economy is dependent on the state’s manufacturing industry. But Hoosiers face a challenge: it is expected that nearly a quarter of the current manufacturing workforce will be of retirement age in the next 10 years and we lack the generational workforce to make up that gap.

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