By Ted Baker, CEO/Executive Director, Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc.—
MUNCIE, IN—A little over eight months ago, our Creative Innovation Connect team began planning a new event that we hoped would impact both entrepreneurs and business owners. We wanted this event to be something that has never been done before. As we worked through our ideas and dreams for this event, the idea for Entrepreneur Showcase Week began to take shape. As we planned our strategies to make this event special and big, we knew we were onto something important. Now, looking back and reviewing the actual events of Entrepreneur Showcase Week, which happened from November 14 to November 19, this week was more than anything and everything we expected.
During Entrepreneur Showcase Week, 21 events were held at the Innovation Connector – which is crazy to even think about. Nearly eight hundred participants joined us for workshops, seminars, panel discussions, networking events, meals and more. This response exceeded our wildest expectations. Many workshops are “sold out” – some with standing room only. A few of these include, Opportunities for minorities and women in business, creatively marketing your business, Finance, bookkeeping and accounting for your business – What Small Businesses Should Know women’s dinner Chic innovationof the Women Business Owners Brunch, and networking dinners with community business contacts. Many positive comments were received from the participants of the meeting – how the meetings helped them with business issues, connected them with other entrepreneurs, and how the introduction of innovation connectors will help them in the future.
Thank you to everyone who participated in some way during Entrepreneurship Showcase Week – attendees, presenters and panelists. Special thanks to our amazing sponsors. A big shout out to First Merchants Bank who served as the title sponsor for the entire weekend. Your continued support of our entrepreneurial community is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mark Hardwick, CEO of First Merchants Corporation for your great insight and presentation during the kickoff celebration. Leadership thanks to Deltac Solutions, Wittinger & Co., R&R Engineering Inc., Inc., Ivy Tech Community College, Jay-Crew, Northwest Bank, Thrive Credit Union, Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, Ball State University Office of Community Engagement, Shaffer Academy, Pizza King (provided several pizzas and breadsticks for dinner for two days – it was a huge success), Chick-Fil-A (provided a delicious breakfast for the morning workshop,) America’s Electric Power Foundation, City of Muncie, Woof Boom Radio/WLBC 104.1 FM/Muncie Journal, TechWise Academy, and Amazing Joe’s. Three other sponsors of special note: Spotted Monkey Marketing for their outstanding service throughout the planning and execution of Entrepreneur Show Week strategies. Thank you, Ashley, Rachel, and Tim, for dreaming and believing with us. Thanks to Woof Boom Radio, Muncie Journal, WLBC 104.1 FM for their support since the start of Entrepreneurship Show Week. Mark Foster and Steve Lindell – We thank you and your support. Also, a big thank you to the Muncie/Delaware County Black Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for your extra efforts to promote Entrepreneurship Show Week to your membership and beyond. This effect was felt during the week of the event.
Congratulations again to the first Entrepreneurs of the Year: Lynn Moore, Peggy Sinova, Curt Harrington, Bernissa Elliott, Tiara Hicks, and Mayor Dan Ridenour. Thank you for sharing your entrepreneurial talents and business with the Muncie community. You make our community better.
Thanks also to the Innovation Connect Board of Directors for supporting our crazy idea. From our Chairman of the Board, Ron Faukor, thank you for your opening remarks at the kickoff celebration that kicked us off. Most of all, thanks to Innovation Connect, a small but mighty team. Lori Albert, Natalie Smith, and I worked together to make this event a success. While the process of planning the event was tedious and long, we reached the finish line very inspired, relaxed and very tired, but happy that so many people participated.
What’s next? The Innovation Connector will continue to celebrate entrepreneurship. It is now part of our organization’s DNA. Our team continues to talk about Entrepreneur Showcase Week events. We reviewed all feedback and social media posts provided by participants. In early January 2023, we will complete a master calendar of events, workshops and seminars, based on what we entrepreneurs and small business owners want and need to learn. 2023 will be an exciting year in the innovation connector. Beginning in February 2023, our events will be posted on www.innovationconnectorevents.com.
I’ve been asked many times, “Will there be an Entrepreneur Showcase II? My answer is, “Maybe.” However, it will more than likely be different than this year’s event. We know that in a week There are more than eleven events. We also think that several workshops and seminars can be combined to provide a comprehensive way to present the content of the subject. And we mention the sessions that were very popular and well attended. Our original The aim will be to make the next Entrepreneur Showcase week better and more efficient than the first week. One thing we can assure you – Innovation Connector will continue to support entrepreneurs and business owners in the best possible ways. Until then Please contact our office at 765-285-4900 if you have any questions or need assistance.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
1208 W. White River Blvd.
Muncie, IN 47303