Small and medium-sized businesses with global aspirations have the opportunity to win $10,000 in export shipping with UPS. The UPS X-PORT Challenge aims to help local businesses export to international markets.
“The UPS X-PORT Challenge is an example of our commitment to innovation, global trade and entrepreneurism,” says Bill Seward, UPS U.S. International President, “Less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export – a percentage that is significantly lower than all developed countries. And of U.S. companies that do export, 58 percent export to only one country. This competition presents an opportunity for growth-oriented businesses to expand internationally.”
Participants in the UPS X-PORT Challenge can begin the application process online. A local UPS representative will then provide the second part of the application, which gives businesses the opportunity to share their ideas for international expansion. That assessment will define the business’ specialty, degree of uniqueness, global appeal and market challenges. Applications must be received by Oct. 10, 2016.
The top 10 applicants will be invited to attend the “Pitch-Off” event on Nov. 10, 2016, in Louisville. Contestants will pitch their business to a panel of judges from the local international business community. The judges will then pick the top three finalists as prize-winners. The second and third place winners will receive $2,500 and $1,000, respectively, in export shipping.
As the seasons change, so do the rankings of top travel destinations. So says Travel Leaders Group in its most recent nationwide survey of travel agents.
For the first time, the top rankings for domestic and international bookings belong to Maui, Hawaii and London. The 1,100-plus travel agency reps name the top destinations they are reserving for the remainder of the year. Results are based on actual booking data.
Two items in the news at various times during the year – Zika and the Brexit vote – may be contributing factors.
“The ‘Brexit’ vote and resulting fluctuation in the British pound has been incredibly favorable for American travelers, whether for leisure or business trips. While London has always been among the top international destinations on our list, this is further proof that travelers are very willing to adjust and seize upon a prime opportunity when there’s increased value in a particular destination,” states Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.
“Domestically, Maui has long been among the most sought after destinations for American travelers, but had never surpassed Orlando, Las Vegas or New York City for the top spot. Because the Zika virus has had an impact on some individuals’ travel decisions, particularly those who are pregnant, Maui’s positioning has been bolstered by having no cases of locally-transmitted Zika.”
1. Maui, 34.1%
2. Orlando, 32.4%
3. New York City, 30.5%
4. Las Vegas, 28.0%
5. Cruise – Alaska, 25.5%
6. Los Angeles, 19.6%
7. Honolulu, 18.8%
8. San Francisco, 17.2%
9. Chicago, 14.2%
10. Washington, D.C., 12.4%
EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2014 favorite.
For many beer connoisseurs, wasting a frothy beverage is an offense worthy of hefty reprimand. But for bar owners, not getting the last drop to customers is a hit to the bottom line as draft beer generates their highest profit margin.
SteadyServ, based in Carmel, has developed iKeg™ technology, which features a sensor and a mobile app to tell those behind the bar exactly how much beer is left in their kegs. It also communicates when the beer was delivered and tapped, as well as its age. Previous order information, consumption trends and local weather forecasts also help managers monitor beer inventory and sales potential.
The SteadyServ office features an innovative backroom complete with a walk-in cooler, half filled with kegs at the time of this interview.
SteadyServ CEO Steve Hershberger attempts to illustrate the guessing game employees must play when determining keg capacity. He asks the BizVoice® team – a reporter and a photographer – to lift a keg and then estimate how full it is. This reporter confidently guesses 60%. And our photographer? “25%,” he ventures.
Mission accomplished. “A bar’s largest margin is draft beer – typically by a factor of two,” Hershberger quantifies. “So you’re guessing about what you spend the most money on and what delivers you the most product every single week.”
While the presidential election may be the talk of D.C. and the media, this is also a busy time of the year for federal policy conversations for the Indiana Chamber.
In mid-August alone, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Senate candidate Evan Bayh and state Sen. Jim Banks, the Republican candidate for congressional District 3, met with our congressional affairs committee members to discuss issues important to Indiana. And Congresswoman Susan Brooks (District 5) was the keynote speaker for our Indiana Conference on Energy Management, advocating for the need for both sustainable and affordable energy.
While we may never agree on all matters with our congressional members, their overall willingness to engage, listen and act – by and large – in the best interest of the Hoosier business community and residents is a longstanding hallmark of Indiana’s delegation. And we are very appreciative for that.
Donnelly, who is not up for re-election, shared his thoughts on a variety of issues during his nearly hour-long visit. For one, he contends the gridlock in Congress is overblown: “What you see on TV bears no reflection to what is reality.” He stressed that 80% of the time the group works together, but the 20% – which often features high profile issues – is what drives the media reports. And “time after time, the Indiana delegation works together.”
Whether that’s Brooks with Donnelly on the law to combat opioid abuse, signed by the President last month, or Indiana’s senior senator, Dan Coats, and Donnelly – joined by District 9 Congressman and Senate candidate Todd Young – leading the charge to suspend the medical device tax for two years. And these are just two of the many examples.
Incidentally, these are among the efforts that led to Donnelly being presented with the U.S. Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award at our office last week; the honor is for his continued commitment to job creation and economic growth.
The Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues met recently for its fourth meeting. An interesting presentation was provided to legislators by the former director of the statistics division of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
National undocumented immigrant information was provided to the committee along with more specific information for Indiana. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., 106,300 reside in Indiana. That number represents 1.6% of Indiana’s total population.
Marion County, primarily in Wayne and Decatur townships, had the largest population of undocumented immigrants with 12,200; Elkhart and Lake counties came in second and third with 9,400 and 6,100 undocumented immigrants, respectively. Approximately 71,000 overall are in the labor force with 21,500 working as operators, fabricators and laborers, with another 19,100 working in services positions. Sixty percent or 64,200 have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years and 77,600 (73%) are between the working ages of 18 and 44. Information on origin of birth was also provided with 67,700 (61%) coming from Mexico.
The committee also heard testimony from Goshen College about unauthorized immigrant students. It was reported that since July 1, 2011, Indiana has prohibited resident tuition rates and state financial aid for undocumented students. Eighteen states, Illinois being one, allow in-state tuition for undocumented students.
Goshen College has provided scholarship aid for undocumented students for the past eight years. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Goshen provided $123,000 in aid for these students. The next hearing is scheduled for September 21. It is uncertain as to what the committee will decide to do with the information garnered from the four previous hearings and the three yet to be held. The Indiana Chamber will continue to be involved in these discussions.
Indiana has many advantages as a leading location to operate a business, raise a family or enjoy a high quality of life. But still more needs to be done to improve that climate and to keep pace with other cities and states, says the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
The organization unveiled today its six-week Beyond the Bicentennial campaign (going beyond the state’s first 200 years). It focuses on the “most potentially impactful public policies” and is directed foremost at the major party gubernatorial candidates, John Gregg and Eric Holcomb.
The Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan, first introduced in 2012, serves as the campaign blueprint. “The Indiana Vision 2025 economic drivers present a great opportunity to highlight initiatives that will benefit Indiana now and in the years ahead,” offers Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.
The first of the four letters, also released today, emphasizes the Outstanding Talent driver. Recommendations focus on critical improvements at the K-12, postsecondary and workforce levels. In an annual survey earlier this year, 45% of responding employers indicated they had left jobs unfilled in the past year due to under-qualified applicants.
“Outstanding Talent is both the greatest challenge for our state and the area of most importance,” Brinegar states. “While businesses are rightfully concerned about their current and future workforces, for individuals we’re talking about the difference between happy, productive lives and what can amount to an economic death sentence if proper education and training are not received.”
The education/workforce needs range from greatly expanding the state’s pre-K pilot program to more students from low-income families, to assisting the more than 700,000 Hoosiers with some college but no credential or degree to gain the skills needed for a rapidly-evolving economy.
Concludes Brinegar, “We hope the recommendations and guidance in these letters will help the gubernatorial candidates and all lawmakers focus on what public policies could be the most impactful for Hoosiers.”
Additional Beyond the Bicentennial letters and accompanying videos will be made available on September 13 (Attractive Business Climate), September 27 (Superior Infrastructure) and October 11 (Dynamic & Creative Culture).
WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber spoke at our press event this morning: “We want to encourage employers to set the standard that talent matters.”
About Indiana Vision 2025
In 2012, the Indiana Chamber published Indiana Vision 2025, a comprehensive, multi-year initiative to provide leadership and a long-range economic development action plan for Indiana. The mission statement: “Indiana will be a global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper.”
A 24-person statewide task force of business and organization leaders developed the original plan. Many from that group, with some additions, worked for four months earlier this year to review progress, update goals and metrics, and identify potential new research to enhance future Report Cards (progress on each of the now 36 goals under the four drivers is assessed every other year).
The Indiana Chamber thanks Duke Energy, NIPSCO, Old National Bank, Vectren and all the investors in Indiana Vision 2025.
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.
Lee Lewellen has concentrated on economic and business growth throughout a 30-year Central Indiana business career. Recently, that focus honed in on entrepreneurs – how they have grown their businesses and what they have learned along the way.
In a series of one-hour iFounders’ interviews, Lewellen tapped into the mindsets of 26 Indiana business leaders. They range from “veterans” such as Bill Mays (Mays Chemical) and Jeff Smulyan (Emmis Communications) to “newcomers” throughout the state, including Ryan Hou of LHP Software (Columbus) and Pete Bitar of XADS (Anderson).
“I was just incredibly humbled that these people who are very successful would spend an hour of their time talking about this,” Lewellen states. It was also a reminder of “how much really cool stuff is taking place in the state of Indiana, both in terms of the innovation and some of the connections these folks have all over the word in selling Indiana products, services and technologies. We kind of take it for granted.”
Lewellen points to Greenville-based Techshot, long known for its work with NASA and more recent diversification into different areas. “It’s out in the middle of nowhere doing some really incredible stuff. They’re there because Mark Deuser wanted to be close to where he grew up. You get a different geographic view of where people are doing these great things. It’s all about networks and mentoring.”
At a series of press conferences Aug. 29, the Indiana Chamber reaffirmed its endorsement of Congressman Todd Young (R-IN, 9th District) for the U.S. Senate. The announcement was first made at the Associated Builders and Contractors training facility on the east side of Indianapolis, followed by stops in South Bend and Fort Wayne.
The organization previously had endorsed Young in the primary before Evan Bayh, former U.S. senator and Indiana governor, emerged as the Democrat candidate.
Once Bayh entered the race, our congressional affairs committee thought the appropriate action was to take another look at this race and talk with him about policies important to the business community.
We were able to do that recently and appreciate Sen. Bayh’s willingness to have that discussion. At the end of the day, however, our committee overwhelmingly decided to keep our endorsement with Congressman Young.
His military, business and government experience have him prepared to take this next step of leadership. Young is also an economic-minded individual who has repeatedly demonstrated prudent decision-making on issues that are vital to jobs and economic growth.
Additionally, Young’s engagement with the business community and his focus on economic, fiscal and regulatory issues were key factors. After he was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee, the congressman sought substantial feedback on potential federal tax reforms and what would have the most impact on Hoosier companies and their employees. He listened to our members – through personal conversations and a survey – using their insights to help form his pro-economy agenda.
The Indiana Chamber frequently hears from its members about burdensome federal regulations. They bring uncertainty and put a stranglehold on job creation. Congressman Young understands these frustrations and has sought to remedy that. In each session, he has introduced legislation (the REINS Act) that would require members of Congress to vote on major rules before they go into effect.
At both the state and federal levels, Indiana Chamber endorsements are driven by vote scores on pro-jobs, pro-economy issues. For state endorsements, the Indiana Chamber relies on its Legislative Vote Analysis report.
Congressional endorsements are based on a combination of the U.S. Chamber’s own vote scores and an analysis of votes on Indiana Chamber federal policy positions. The U.S. Chamber’s lifetime congressional voting record for Bayh is 55%; Young is at 91%.
The Indiana Chamber’s congressional affairs committee, which determined Young’s endorsement, is a nonpartisan group comprised of volunteer business leaders from around the state.
Representatives of the U.S. Chamber, which also is supporting Young’s general election campaign, joined the Indiana Chamber for the press event.