Some local small business recognized by the state for Indiana for excellence

(Photo provided / Indiana Department of Workforce Development)

Indiana Small Business Week is held September 13-17, celebrating the 529,000+ small businesses in Indiana and the 1.2 million hardworking Hoosiers who employ them.

Indiana Economic Development Corporation recognizes several Hoosier small businesses who have worked with the Indiana Small Business Development Center, an IEDC program, to create, grow, or transform their small businesses. These awards, presented in conjunction with the US Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, recognize the achievements of entrepreneurs and small businesses and their contribution to growing the Indian economy and strengthening communities across the state.

The 2021 winners are:

  • Community Impact Small Business of the Year: Crossroads Solar Enterprises (South Bend)

    Founded in 2019 by Patrick Regan and Marty Whalen, Crossroads Solar Enterprises is an International Electrotechnical Commission and Underwriters Laboratories Inc.-certified manufacturer of solar modules for residential, municipal and industrial applications who have served prison sentences, providing them with equal opportunities, living wages with benefits and work skills required for re-entry into working life.

  • Innovative Small Business of the Year: InsightTRAC (Syracuse)

    Founded in 2017 by Anna Haldewang, InsightTRAC provides on-site robotic pest control and data tracking services to help almond farmers better manage and optimize their yields. The product provides real-time insight into the orchards and provides farmers with an autonomous winter hygiene solution for the currently manual process.

  • Minority Owned Small Business of the Year: bNutty Peanut Butter (Portage)

    bNutty Peanut Butter is a women-run company founded by Joy Thompkins and later founded by Carol Podolak. What began as a fundraiser for youth football in 2014 has grown into a robust manufacturing operation with multiple production lines and a national customer base.

  • Entrepreneur of the year: Donte Wilburn (Lafayette)

    Donte Wilburn, owner and operator of Premier Detailing and Wash LLC, founded his company in 2011 with the aim of providing quality services based on easement and trust. The company expanded to a second location in Kokomo in 2020, and in 2021 Donte and managing partners purchased Legacy Courts, a sports facility that has been in operation for six years, to create a safe space for Lafayette’s youth.

  • Family-run small business of the year: Fischerhöfe (St. Antonius)

    Founded in 2004 by Diana and Dave Fischer, Fischer Farms is a natural meat producer serving Hoosier families and restaurants with high quality, local and sustainable products. The family business, now in its sixth generation, has expanded to meet the demand for local, fresh products.

  • Rural Small Business of the Year: High Performance Alloys Inc. (Tipton)

    Founded in 1984 by Russ Kirchner, High Performance Alloys Inc. manufactures and sells super alloys and super stainless steels to meet the needs of the aerospace, chemical, oil and gas, medical and food industries. With locations in Tipton and Windfall, the company employs more than 60 Hoosiers and serves a global customer base.

  • Start-up of the year: Saaslio (Indianapolis)

    Founded by John Harden, Saaslio is data insight software designed to help IT managed service providers understand their customers’ software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems and their security implications. Since the start in March 2020, Saaslio has participated in gener8tor’s gBETA startup accelerator and secured six early adopter partnerships across the country.

  • Veteran Small Business Of The Year: Security solutions for Central America (Evansville)

    Founded in 2017 by Jeff Klump, MidAmerica Safety Solutions is a traffic safety company providing on-site traffic management for construction sites in the Evansville, Bloomington, Indianapolis and Cincinnati areas. As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Jeff and his team are committed to hiring veterans, retirees, and veteran spouses through local organizations.

  • Women-run small business of the year: Starlight Spirits & Wines LLC (Borden)

    Founded in 2001 by Dana and Jan Huber, Starlight Spirits & Wines LLC is the company responsible for the regional distribution of Huber wines. As part of Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Distillery, the company is an agrotourism destination in southern Indiana.

Indiana SBDC offers free expert advice and an extensive network of resources to any entrepreneur looking to start or grow a business. These resources include capital access, business planning, export assistance, and market research.

The state received an “A +” rating for ease of business start-ups (Thumbtack 2019) and ranks # 1 in the Midwest and # 6 in the nation for entrepreneurship (SBE Council 2019).

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Jon Zimney is the news and programming director for News / Talk 95.3 Michiana’s news channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.

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