Partnership Connects Indiana Entrepreneurs

to Startup Resources

Startup companies in Indiana will benefit from a new partnership between a venture development organization and an online business networking community. The partnership gives growing companies access to regional resources and other long-term business opportunities.

Elevate Ventures ( ) provides assistance, investment opportunities and other resources to Indiana startups and IdeaCrossing(R) ( ) connects entrepreneurs to potential business mentors, investors and service providers.

The two resources aim to foster successful new companies. Entrepreneurs can use them to develop their business plans and link to resources that can help them grow via:

•  Workspaces where entrepreneurs can link with advisors and request online feedback while securely sharing documents and obtain referrals.

•  A business profile generator creates presentation-quality documents. Businesses can update their profiles online in real time as warranted.

•  A proprietary database that pairs entrepreneurs with suitable business mentors

•  A searchable directory that provides contact information of business resources at universities, economic development organizations, foundations and professional service providers.

•  A Resource Center that provides a variety of informative content such as: member-submitted articles, white papers, news stories and a geographically-searchable calendar of entrepreneur-related events.

A Public/Private Partnership Supports Startups in Nebraska

Nebraska’s governor, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Gallup Organization have successfully collaborated to stimulate small business development.

The initiative provides business-to-business guides and a consulting program called the Entrepreneur Acceleration System, created by The Gallup Organization, to help early-stage entrepreneurs and established firms grow their businesses.

The effort promotes value-based relationships between businesses, customers and employees to generate revenue and create jobs.

Gallop has selected and trained more than 50 volunteer leaders to work with entrepreneurs in the 12-month development program.  They will serve as mentors for small and medium-sized companies statewide, offering practical advice to business owners in several areas: securing startup capital, developing new products, building leadership teams, and transferring ownership of existing businesses.

The program has grown quickly and now has more than 160 companies with about 5,000 employees participating. The results speak for themselves:

•  LiteForm Technologies in South Sioux City customer engagement efforts have helped it land its largest single order to date: $220,000. It plans to hire three more employees to help meet the growing demand for its services.

•  Intellicom of Kearney increased its revenue and employee productivity by 24 percent each while increasing its profits by 75 percent during the first half of 2011.

•  Hudl of Lincoln more than doubled its workforce, growing from 18 to 41 full-time employees. Its client did likewise, growing from 2,200 high schools to more than 5,000 after acquiring a competitior.

The partnership is helping Nebraska to deliver a more coordinated, intensive business development effort for the state’s small businesses.

Wichita Revamps Business Development Program

Wichita, Kansas is in the process of updating its 8-year-old economic development policies. Luring businesses with tax incentives is one of the key areas it is addressing.

Currently there is no penalty for companies that leave the city after their 10-year tax abatements expire. To address this concern, the city is thinking about adopting a policy that would require a company to repay all the tax breaks it received over the past 10 years if it leaves the area within a year of their expiration. For each succeeding year that a company remains in the area, its repayment would be reduced by 20-percent.

While no companies have left Wichita immediately after their tax abatements expired, the city believes that it could become a problem as competition for businesses and the jobs they bring intensifies.

The city is also thinking about reducing the requirement for the community to get a return of $1.30 for every incentive dollar received. It is considering exceptions for companies that generate at least a $1 return for each tax abatement dollar invested.

The proposed policy lets the city consider three mitigating factors for projects that don’t meet the current ratio. At least two of the three would have to be met for an incentive to be approved and these incentives would be reviewed annually instead of every five years. 

Tax Subsidies for Businesses in North Dakota

Taxpayer subsidies for North Dakota businesses may be legal according to two recent state Supreme Court rulings, but opponents claim the North Dakota Constitution says it is not. And to clear up any doubts, they are considering an effort to either amend the constitution to explicitly ban taxpayer support for private venture, or they will at least ask lawmakers to place restrictions on this business development practice.

While the Nebraska’s Chamber of Commerce supports business tax breaks with reasonable limits, the Supreme Court didn’t provide specific guidelines in its rulings.

They stated that state and local governments can “make internal improvements” and “engage in any industry, enterprise or business.” The court went on to say, “Economic development programs are “an enterprise for a public purpose, (and) governmental entities engaged in that enterprise may extend credit, make loans or make donations in furtherance of those programs.”

The Supreme Court rulings affirmed government-based economic development programs that create jobs and promote the broad public good.

Opponents claim the economic development programs lack accountability and give away taxpayer money to corporations, including some of the wealthiest in the world. 

P2R Associates  248-348-2464  •  •