Boosting the Creative Juices

BDo you need to “get creative” quickly?

New research from Stanford University substantiates how the act of walking stimulates creativity. Among study participants, 81% improved their creative output when walking. The report claims that “walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goal of increasing creativity.”

Before starting your walk, consider researching the topic you will working on to set the right frame of mind. Other creativity boosters: go to the gym, engage in a hobby or just get out of the office and go to a coffee shop.

TECH THURSDAY: Mobile Man

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EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2013 favorite. And it’s most appropriate considering yesterday’s news from Bluebridge in which the company announced a new platform, more funding and its plans to add more jobs. 

Santiago Jaramillo, now 23, initially landed in Indiana without any personal connections. Oh, how that has changed in a short period of time.

Having flourished on a full scholarship he’d earned at a prestigious private high school – American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. – where Miami Heat basketball players often send their children, he could have attended almost any university he wanted.

Yet when he walked onto the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion following a visit to Chicago, he decided to commit to the school. “I walked in and said, ‘I don’t know why I should go here – but I think it’s right,’ ” Jaramillo recalls. “I didn’t know anybody in Indiana; I’d never been here before.”

That decision would ultimately open many doors for him after he graduated with a 4.0 GPA and valedictorian status at the university. But it certainly wasn’t the first time a fortuitous instinct paid dividends for him. He remembers a fateful day as a child in his native Cali, Colombia.

Read the full story online.

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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Training: Turn Up the Heat in August

Business direction background with two people

Summer will be in full swing with a multitude of training opportunities to enhance employees’ expertise and protect your bottom line this August.

First up is the 2016 Indiana Tax Conference, one of the state’s largest, on August 11. Learn the latest in tax case law and legislation as highly-experienced speakers identify ways to help you stay in compliance and reduce tax liability.

Francina Dlouhy, partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, will share her perspective on a crucial issue during her keynote luncheon presentation – It Was a Bad Idea Then and It Still Is Now! What Combined Filing Would Mean for Indiana. Among other themes are multistate tax hot topics for 2016, Affordable Care Act reporting compliance and an Indiana Department of Revenue update.

BKD, LLP is the presenting sponsor. Gold sponsors are MCM CPAs & Advisors and McGuire Sponsel. The silver sponsor is DMA – DuCharme, McMillen & Associates, Inc.

Fuel business savings the following week by attending the 14th Annual Indiana Conference on Energy Management on August 17-18. Learn how to cut costs and maximize resources as energy experts from throughout the state share practical – and effective – compliance strategies.

Don’t miss engaging keynote presentations:

  • Congresswoman Susan Brooks (invited) – opening general session: August 17
  • Canadian Consul General Doug George – Energy Security and Supplies: the Canada-U.S. Relationship – general session: August 18
  • Kyle Rogers, The American Gas Association, and The Edison Electric Institute representative (invited) – Outlook on Natural Gas and Electric – closing luncheon: August 18

Additional highlights include panel discussions, customized training (choose from a variety of options) and an expo showcasing the products and services offered by businesses in your field. Explore topics such as distributed generation; reducing utility bills; using the government and tax code for energy efficiency; and energy bankruptcies.

The 14th Annual Conference on Energy Management will take place at the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis-Downtown Union Station. Register online or call (800) 824-6885.

Gold sponsors: EDF Energy Services; Ice Miller LLP; MacAllister Power Systems; and Vectren. Silver sponsors: Cummins, Geronimo Energy, Indiana Electric Cooperatives, NIPSCO and Telamon Corporation.

Rounding out August offerings are:

Sponsorships are available by contacting Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876.

Talent is Everything

cSignificant numbers of talented people, not to mention entrepreneurs, in the STEM fields come from international backgrounds. Home countries are trying to entice these men and women to return, while U.S. policy makes it difficult for them to stay here, apply the lessons they have learned and be meaningful economic contributors.

The Kauffman Foundation has more:

The United States stands to lose valuable economic contributors unless it removes immigration barriers to international STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students who earn advanced degrees here, according to a study released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

International Ph.D. students in the United States on temporary visas accounted for nearly two-fifths (39 percent) of all Ph.D.s in STEM fields in 2013 – a proportion that has doubled over the past three decades. If the trend continues, the majority of STEM Ph.D.s from U.S. universities will go to international students by 2020.

The report, “Will They Stay or Will They Go? International STEM Students Are Up for Grabs,” conducted by Richard Appelbaum and Xueying Han at the University of California, Santa Barbara, shows that nearly two out of five international STEM students are undecided about whether to stay in America or return to their home countries after graduation. More than a third of them are aware of programs designed to lure them back to their countries of origin, at the same time U.S. immigration policy makes it difficult for them to remain here.

The ability to retain international STEM graduates has implications for U.S. entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth. In 2014, 29 percent of all new U.S. startups were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs, reflecting a startup rate nearly twice as high as that of U.S.-born adults.

“Innovation is one of America’s strongest assets, but other nations are gaining on us,” said Yasuyuki Motoyama, director in Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “These students represent talented scientists and engineers. If we want to maintain our edge amid intensifying global competition, then our immigration policies must be modified to make it easier for international STEM students to make America their permanent home.”

The Kauffman report draws from 2,322 responses to an email survey of domestic and international graduate students enrolled in STEM programs at the 10 U.S. universities with the largest number of international students. Thirty-four percent of the respondents were international students holding temporary visas.

The report recommends that Congress take action to open the immigration door wider to international STEM students, including:

  • Adopt the Immigration Innovation Act (or the I-Squared Act), which would increase the H-1B visa annual cap from 65,000 to between 115,000 and 195,000, depending on demand and market conditions.
  • Adopt the Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy Act of 2015 (or the STAPLE Act), which would allow international students who earn STEM Ph.D.s from U.S universities and receive job offers from U.S. employers to be admitted for permanent resident status and exempted from H-1B visa limitations.
  • Amend the H-1B visa system to allow all individuals to switch employers/jobs.

The Kauffman researchers recommended that Congress avoid lumping illegal immigration with legal immigration in one bill, cautioning that “politics should play no role in an issue so critical to the future of U.S. competitiveness.”

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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Kelley School of Business Indianapolis Seeks Companies Looking for New Growth Opportunities

IUPUI KelleyThe IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis is looking for central Indiana companies to partner with undergraduate-student teams for its renowned Integrative Core (I-Core) Program. A release from the school has more:

I-Core is a distinguishing component of Kelley’s bachelor’s degree program. Junior-level students take a set of four integrated classes—marketing, finance, supply chain management and team dynamics and leadership—during a single semester. Kelley students say I-Core is one of the most meaningful experiences of their Kelley careers—a rite of passage to understanding the business world and the value of teamwork.

A team of students will meet with company representatives to establish a project that works to benefit the company. Students conduct research, analyze findings and provide a recommendation at the end of the semester.

Students may consider new goods or services, providing a feasibility study of the new product and market. They will determine if return on investment justifies risk and capital investment.

Company representatives are asked to participate in an on-campus meeting to talk about the company’s current business and provide background information to help student analysis.

 Results: Testimonials from company reps and students

Last academic year, one student team worked with RICS Software in Indianapolis. VP of Products and Technology Chris Kozlowski says the I-Core group looked at additional revenue opportunities for the company.

“If you have the resources to spare, and you are looking for ways to think about your business differently, it’s a no-brainer,” Kozlowski said about his experience with the Kelley I-Core team.

“You have students who will think about the ways you do business, and the exercise—just going through the process—is worth it. It’s always nice to hear a different perspective. The fruit is in the ideation that they produce and present to you. It’s a different take on your business, which allows you to see things differently,” said Kozlowski. “The ideas were original and well-thought through. It’s a great exercise because it casts the lens inward a bit. It’s always good to hear new and different ideas.”

Kelley student and supply chain major Salman Al Muqaimi, BS’17, was one of the students who worked with RICS Software.

“Working with RICS Software was a great opportunity,” Al Muqaimi said. “Interacting and working with business professionals taught me that important skill everyone needs to be successful in business: communication. Taking I-Core gave me a better picture of what business is and how companies use the science of business to help them succeed.”

“I consider the I-Core project to be a preparation course for real life in business. I-Core is the gate, and walking through this gate gives you the chance to apply knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom to the real world,” he added.

Chris Gray is the Founder and CEO of Track Ahead, a career development app that facilitates firsthand and indirect engagement between college students and employers to match them based on mutual fit. He also worked with a Kelley I-Core team, who used Track Ahead data to build their own business model.

“When you’re talking to students about an idea, they’re asking questions. Those are often the same type of questions we thought about when the business was just getting started. It puts you back into that ‘day one mindset,’ thinking about the answers to the kinds of questions that hadn’t been thought about in a while,” said Gray. “In the startup world, you have to keep that sort of ‘day one thinking.’ You can’t lose sight of the thought process and the things you were thinking about in the first place. I think it was a good exercise.”

“I would recommend the I-Core experience to any company,” said Gray. “Being involved with Kelley Indy students helps all of us in the business community—to make sure we’re growing and cultivating the next generation. We have to find the time to reach out to them.”

Accounting and finance major Jalen McCoy, BS’18, says I-Core taught him to work efficiently with a team and the importance of being a leader.

“I enjoyed working with a company that genuinely cared about the ideas we came up with,” said McCoy. “The I-Core experience for a company could be an excellent recruiting tool, and students may come up with ideas that act as a catalyst for growth. I know personally that this I-Core experience was truly one of a kind, and I appreciated the participation of the company that I was involved with.”

How to get involved

Please request and fill out an application if you’d like your business to be involved.

Any for-profit organization can apply. The ideal company will have been in business for at least 10 years (minimum of 5 years) and will have shown an operating profit for at least three years (minimum one year). The company must be incorporated as an S corporation, C corporation or an LLC.

If you would like more information on this program, or to request an application, contact Teresa Bennett at tkbennet(at)iupui.edu or at 317 278-9173.

Indianapolis Int’l Airport to Hold Public Listening Sessions on Future Uses of Vacant Land

airportThe Indianapolis International Airport will be holding a series of public listening sessions about the future use of the vacant 130 acre tract of land which had previously been used as the old terminal parking lots (near the intersection of Sam Jones Expressway and Interstate 465).

At these sessions, the general public will have the opportunity to offer thoughts on the future of this important parcel of land. The comments from the general public will be taken into consideration by the airport as it prepares its new plan for the redevelopment of this critical area located on the east side of the airport.

Several public listening sessions have already been scheduled, which will occur at the following times and locations:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
Ben Davis High School
(Enter through Door #2)
1200 N. Girls School Road
Indianapolis, Indiana

Thursday, July 28, 2016 (5:30 – 7 p.m.)
Plainfield Recreation & Aquatic Center
651 Vestal Road
Plainfield, Indiana

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 (5:30 – 7 p.m.)
Mt. Olive Church
1449 W. High School
Indianapolis, Indiana

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 (5:30 – 7 p.m.)
Southeast Community Services Center
901 Shelby Street
Indianapolis, Indiana

Also read the recent BizVoice article on the progress of the airport’s land use initiative.

TECH THURSDAY: Mickey’s Mantra

maurer

EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2011 favorite.

Michael S. “Mickey” Maurer says a common piece of advice for entrepreneurs is “find something you do well, you like, and do that forever.”

But all entrepreneurs do not fit into a nice, neat, one-size-fits-all package. The definition of the term, after all, typically includes the words “initiative” and “risk.”

Maurer follows his initial comment with this self-description. “I just don’t seem to follow that good advice. I have a short attention span, a big curiosity and I like to do things I’ve never done before. What I try to do is find something I’ve never done, do that and learn all I can, and then move on and do something else I’ve never done. And that makes every deal fascinating … and it makes every deal fraught with risks if you’re doing everything for the first time.”

Maurer’s business career has included cable television, racquetball facilities, film production, radio broadcasting, newspaper publishing, banking and much more. He served in the early days of the Daniels administration, making deals for the state as leader of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

In one 30-minute conversation, Maurer offers these recollections and pieces of advice.

Read the full story online.

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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Let’s Caucus: Candy, Cut Flowers and Concrete

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What do these three items have in common? No, it’s not a Valentine’s Day gone bad for a mobster (though possible). All three subjects actually have congressional caucuses in their honor, during which legislators explore ways to promote their industries on Capitol Hill.

The newest entrant is the Congressional Candy Caucus – announced June 16 – which highlights “the economic impact, responsibility commitments and community involvement” of the candy manufacturing industry. One of its founders, Rep. Jackie Walorski (Indiana’s 2nd District) says: “Candy manufacturers like the South Bend Chocolate Company in my district have a long and lasting tradition of not only making Americans’ favorite treats but creating good jobs and growing our economy.”

No doubt that’s true, but I’m guessing there will also be some chocolate indulgence when the caucus members meet.

There are literally HUNDREDS of these congressional groups. Some lofty; others more frivolous – at least on the surface.

The July-August issue of BizVoice magazine examines caucuses that may leave you scratching your head or simply wanting to know more about what they really promote.

Angels Prove to be More Selective in 2015

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The angel investor market in 2015 had a slight increase in investment dollars and in deal size according to a new report from the Center for Venture Research (CVR) at the University of New Hampshire.

The State Science & Technology Institute provides the following analysis:

In The Angel Investor Market in 2015: A Buyers Market, CVR reports that total angel investments in 2015 were $24.6 billion – an increase of 1.9% over 2014. CVR also reported that the total number of entrepreneurial ventures that received angel funding in 2015 declined by 3.1% from 2014 – in total 71,110 start-ups received funding. The result of these two trends was larger deal sizes for 2015 – an increase of 5.1% from 2014. CVR concluded that these findings, combined with yield rates and valuations data, indicate that angels were selective in their investment behavior in 2015.

While CVR contends that the angel market was robust in 2015 – approximately $24.6 billion in investments – they also believe that the selectivity of angels and decrease in valuations over the last three years indicates a continuing market correction in valuations. Other findings include:

  • Software maintained its top sector position with 18% of total angel investments in 2015
  • Other key industries include Healthcare Services/Medical Devices and Equipment (16%), Biotech (13%), Industrial/Energy (11%), Retail (10.6%), and Media (9%)
  • Angel investments contributed to the creation of 270,2000 new jobs in the U.S. – 3.8 jobs per angel investment
  • The average angel deal size was $345,390
  • The average equity received was 14.89% with a deal valuation of $2.3 million
  • Angel investment in the seed and start-up stage (28% of deals) was largely unchanged from 2014 (25% of deals)
  • Fort-five percent of all angel deals were early stage investments (46% in 2014)
  • Expansion and late stage investments also remained consistent with regard to percentage of total deals

Interested in the health of Indiana’s tech community? Get involved in the new Indiana Technology and Innovation Council. First open discussion is August 9! Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com to learn more. 

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Jasper’s Matrix Integration Earns National Recognition

Matrix-Integration-logoMatrix Integration, an Indiana Chamber member based in Jasper, illustrates just some of the tech innovation found throughout the state. Today, the company celebrates five national awards. (And if you’re interested in enhancing the tech climate and are affiliated with an Indiana tech company, consider participating in the Indiana Technology & Innovation Council. The first open discussion is August 9.)

A press release has more on Matrix Integration:

Matrix Integration LLC, expert technology advisors based in Jasper, Indiana with locations in Fishers, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, wins multiple national awards including making the Diversity Business Top Business for 2016, the Top 30 Women of the Channel List from CRN- a leading magazine in the business-to-business computer industry – and Matrix was also named to CRN’s Tech Elite 250, the Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list, and Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list.

“It is always a huge honor that we’ve won several of these awards year over year,” said Brenda Stallings, co-founder and CEO of Matrix Integration. “We pride ourselves on our highly trained, innovative workforce that builds lasting relationships, while we design and implement technology solutions that give our customers an edge, and the industry has recognized that.”

The awards recognize various aspects of Matrix Integration’s business.

  • As one of Diversity Business “Top Business for 2016” Matrix Integration represents a growing class of innovators and visionaries that continue to go beyond expectations in producing products and services that transform the way we live. Contributions also have created an important cycle of reinvigorating the nation’s and global economic vitality. www.diversitybusiness.com.
  • CRN’s 2016 Women of the Channel list honors 340 female executives who are making their mark in the technology industry with Matrix Integration’s co-founder and CEO, Brenda Stallings, ranking in the Top 30 List.
  • Companies on the CRN 2016 Tech Elite 250 list represent an elite group of North American IT solution providers that have invested in the training and education needed to earn the most advanced technical certifications in the IT Channel for data center or cloud.
  • The Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list. The MSP500 is an annual list which recognizes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose cutting-edge approach to managed services puts end-user customers in the best position to improve efficiencies, cut costs and speed time to market for their own products and services.
  • Awarded by The Channel Company and CRN for placing #294 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list. CRN’s staple SP500 list recognizes the top channel partners in North America each year since 1995. This acclaimed annual ranking is an industry-recognized guide to the most accomplished partners in the channel.