Feb 28, 2023

IEDC Will Continue to Recognize Black Entrepreneurs beyond Black History Month

As February comes to a close, we want to continue to celebrate Black History Month and recognize the many contributions of African Americans to our state, our nation and the world. Black History Month also provides an opportunity to reflect on the struggles for basic civil rights that African Americans still endure today, and to learn more about how we can drive social change in our communities. 

As a nation we represent the greatest diversity of any country in the world, and that has challenged us as wave after wave of immigrants have looked to America as a place with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From veterans to presidents, we honor people for many reasons in this country with special times of remembrance. These annual events by themselves do not begin to tell the stories of our history and the people who helped write them. 

Black History Month serves as such a marker. That’s why we want to take the time to honor the stories of African Americans and events that shaped who we are as a culture.  

To shine a light on Black History and celebrate the stories of African Americans in Indianapolis, visit


Our team at the IEDC is leaning in to support historically underserved populations. This includes investments in Black and minority businesses, programs and disinvested communities. There is much more to do, but a few key initiatives are highlighted below: 

  • Inclusive Learning Lab (Seymour, Michigan City and Warsaw) 

Aimed at closing geographic and racial gaps in economic opportunity, the Brookings Institution’s Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will, together, work with three Indiana towns —Michigan City, Seymour and Warsaw — over the next year to co-create “community-centered economic inclusion” (CCEI) agendas. The effort is supported by the IEDC and focused on small cities located in the state of Indiana’s READI program regions. This 12-month Learning Lab, Brookings and LISC will offer research, technical assistance, and structured opportunities for the three local teams (“the cohort”) to come together to discuss specific challenges and best practice strategies for advancing community-centered economic inclusion. The individual CCEI agendas created through the Lab will position each Indiana town to effectively engage in the growing sectors of their regional economy to expand local economic opportunity. Importantly, the agendas will also outline strategies to address persistent economic stagnation and inequity by coordinating and concentrating workforce, small business, real estate development, and placemaking efforts. 


  • Ivy Tech Diversity and Career Center (READI Wabash River Region) 

The Career and Employer Connection Center will house the new Career Coaching and Employer Connections team. The Terre Haute campus launched this initiative in July of 2021 as part of the statewide rollout. The READI funds will allow an increased emphasis on the necessity for this portion of workforce development by creating a space integrated into a new welcoming space for students. The $970,000 allotted to the Diversity and Career Center will go towards the Healthcare workforce pipeline and the Diversity, Equity and Belonging Center. To aid in Healthcare Workforce Development, Ivy Tech will use funding for the renovation of the School of Health Sciences and the expansion of the School of Nursing. The remaining funding will be used to renovate the current student admission and enrollment area to create the Diversity, Equity and Belonging Center (DEB) along with the hiring/salary of the DEB Director, community outreach, on-campus programing, DEB focused marketing and center refurbishments. The project launched in January 2023, with a completion date of December 2026. 

  • The ONE Fund (READI One Southern Indiana Region) 

One Southern Indiana is collaborating with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), Caesars Foundation of Floyd County, Washington County Economic Growth Partnership, and several other community partners, to establish a Small Business Revolving Loan Fund (The ONE Fund), which will provide small business education, business programing and lending with a sustained focus on minority and rural communities.  The ONE Fund will provide small business owners an all-inclusive resource where they can receive education, counseling, mentoring, matchmaking, financial literacy programs and lending to individuals and business owners. The ONE Fund will allow start-ups and existing un-bankable businesses to get lending. The program expects to do average loans of $15,000 per loan and manage a portfolio of 16-20 small business loans once the program levels off. 

  • Minority Business Skills Enhancement Program (Northwest Indiana READI Region) 

With an objective to provide greater and more effective outreach and resources to minority and rural business owners and individuals starting businesses, its main services will be business plan assistance, finding financing, training on bookkeeping, assisting with digital marketing and with MBE/WBE and other certifications. We will deploy individuals from the underserved communities who have owned or own a small business as business advisors providing counseling and resources. The main communities we will focus on are Black, Hispanic, and rural small business owners and those starting businesses. The project launched in August 2022 and with an expected completion date in December 2023. READI funds will be used to pay for consulting services and training materials. Primarily by the Northwest Indiana SBDC utilizing two contract Business Advisors. Training provided by Accounting Made Simple as well as a NWI digital marketing agency to be determined. We will also partner with stakeholders in underserved communities to have space to meet business owners in person. An estimated 200 business owners and start-ups counseled annually.  We anticipate being able to show quantitative successes that will help us persuade funding to be provided from economic development organizations, cities, or other entities. We will also look for appropriate grant applications as sources of funds to sustain these efforts. 

  • IEDC’s Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit (VCI) 

VCI incentivizes investments in minority qualified Indiana businesses by increasing the allowable lifetime threshold of tax credit allocations available to investors investing in minority businesses (from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000) and increasing the percentage of the investment (25% to 30%) that can be used to calculate the tax credit. 2022 was the first year of these increases.  

Thus far, 58 startups have been certified, of which 18 have been certified W/MBE-QIBs. 

$18.4M of tax credits have been awarded from 510 investments totaling $61.3M approved - $2.8M tax credits awarded and $9.3M to WMBE-QIBs 

State Small Business Credit Initiative – Five Funded Investment Deals to Date 

The IEDC received $99M from the U.S. Treasury for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). This iteration of the SSBCI program focuses on socially and economically disadvantaged businesses. Over $30M will be intentionally invested in or used to support loans made to businesses certifying their socially and economically disadvantaged businesses status over the course of the program.  

  • Minority Business Development Agency’s MBDA Business Center Award  

The IEDC was awarded the Minority Business Development Agency’s MBDA Business center award. The IEDC will utilize these funds to build a referral network of partners to connect businesses to resources and provide advising services necessary for MBE business development, certifications, and contracting opportunities.  

Partners for the program are expected to be the Indiana Black Expo, MidStates Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Indiana SBDC.  

The Central Indiana SBDC at Butler University partnered with the Indiana Black Expo to embed an SBDC Business Advisor into Indiana Black Expo’s Black Business Training Institute. The Black Business Training Institute is a robust 10-week business management program, focused on practical business skills that can immediately be applied by small Black business owners. 


  • Tolleston Opportunity Hub (Northwest / Gary, IN)  

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana is partnering with Crossroads YMCA, the City of Gary, the Dean & Barbara White Foundation, and Methodist Hospital for a project to renovate the existing BGC site in the Tolleston neighborhood in west-central Gary. Investments will go towards remodeling and improving the Club, constructing a new YMCA building and a new Methodist Hospitals satellite center. Our collective goal is to deliver exceptional spaces and programs that focus on education, social services, childcare, health/wellness, physical activity, talent development, entrepreneurship and economic advancement. Together we can empower families to obtain the means necessary to break the cycle of poverty and actively contribute to a thriving economy.  

  • Village Premier (Northeast / Fort Wayne, IN)  

Village Premier is a mixed-income and mixed-use development that will transform approximately 20 acres in the Southeast Quadrant of Fort Wayne into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. The project consists of three phases: Phase I consists of 208 workforce housing units utilizing the 4% Bond Rental Housing Tax Credit program which will target individuals/households making between 50%-60% of the Area Median Income, and approximately 30 for-sale single-family and/or townhomes.  Phases II and III include approximately 65 senior affordable housing units through the 9% Rental Housing Tax Credit competitive application serving individuals making between 30%-60% of the Area Median Income, and approximately 30,000 square feet of commercial which will potentially include a healthcare clinic, daycare, and various other commercial retail offerings including coffee shop, restaurants, etc.