Going On the Co-Working Road

The Fish Tank co-working space in Columbus is leading to a variety of business community collaborations.

Business dreams come in many shapes and sizes. A common denominator is having the resources available to help those dreams come true. And the places to make that happen, like the entrepreneurs themselves, are unique in many ways.Business dreams come in many shapes and sizes. A common denominator is having the resources available to help those dreams come true. And the places to make that happen, like the entrepreneurs themselves, are unique in many ways.

The Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine, in its yearlong series on innovation and entrepreneurship, hits the road in the current issue to learn about the people and places in four communities. They are:

While they vary in size and activity, these and other co-working space share the common bond of bringing people together. I’m confident you will enjoy learning about some of the entrepreneurs who are starting and growing their businesses.

The July-August issue also offers:

  • A continuation of the developing success story at Recovery Force. Three external advisors with varying backgrounds share their insights
  • A guest column that focuses on the green Internet of Things
  • Quick Hits that include a business attraction effort in Anderson; another unique space for entrepreneurs in Wabash; and a successful remote relationship for an ExactTarget alum who didn’t want to leave central Indiana

If you don’t receive each of the six bimonthly issues of BizVoice®, you can subscribe online. If you want to reach an audience of 15,000-plus decision-makers with your products and services, contact Tim Brewer (tbrewer@indianachamber.com) for advertising specials and packages.

Marion Golf Course Earns National Recognition, Gives Back to Community

If you’re like me, you have a problem. You play golf — and think about your short game — way more than what some would label as "healthy." Yet despite my many hours on the range, the only thing I have in common with newly crowned British Open champ Darren Clarke is one serious affinity for Guinness — or as he calls it, "the Irish black stuff."

In Indiana, we are blessed with a wide array of courses to choose from. However, you may not be aware of Walnut Creek Golf Course up in Marion, which recently earned national runner-up status (and Indiana Course of the Year honors) in the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Course of the Year contest in early 2011.

Walnut Creek is a family-owned, 36-hole public course that has catered to local duffers for 40 years. Owner Randy Ballinger explains the course earned its recent accolades for its dedication to the game — and its community.

"Some of the criteria they use is quality of the course and quality of management — and we’ve taken management roles in the owners association and golf course superintendent’s organization," he says. "I’m also active legislatively (having pushed for daylight savings time and favorable property tax reform), and my daughter, Mindy Ballinger, is now a manager here as a third generation employee."

He notes that some of the other courses in the running for national Course of the Year honors included eventual winner Hidden Valley in California, as well as highly-acclaimed destinations The Legends in South Carolina and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Ballinger adds that Walnut Creek gives back to the community by helping teach new golfers, holding local fundraisers (sometimes at no charge), and — perhaps most notably — spearheading the area’s Tees for Troops program, which donated two tons of golf equipment to American troops in Iraq.

"The program is valuable because it gives our troops a chance to do something in their down time besides just playing cards," he says.

When asked about what challenges golf course owners are facing today, Ballinger explains that when the economy tumbles, discretionary income — and thereby recreation — is the first to take a hit. He says that’s why many golf courses have had to reduce green fees, though expenses have increased. He contends that keeping a close eye on spending and managing debt service remain keys to success for every golf course.

Not only are Walnut Creek’s fees very reasonable for golfers on a budget, but the course offers a unique attraction for golf history enthusiasts in its Jenkins Golfhouse Museum

So if you’re in the Grant County area or don’t mind a little drive for some great golf at a high value, you should head on over and tee it up at a nationally recognized course right here in northern Indiana.

Site Selecton Mag Recognizes Indiana for Economic Development Projects

Marion, Huntington, Angola, Seymour and Peru were recognized by Site Selection Magazine recently on its ranking of states by economic development projects.

For the sixth time since Site Selection Magazine began its Governor’s Cup rankings in 2003, Marion Indiana has made the list, this year as the ninth top Micropolitan in the United States. The magazine ranking of Top Micropolitans ranks cities of 10,000 to 50,000 within at least one county. Marion, Indiana was ranked among the nation’s 576 other Micropolitan areas.

This is Marion, Indiana’s second top ten ranking since 2003. It is the first Indiana Micropolitan community to make a top ten ranking twice. The Site Selection’s 2010 Governor’s Cup was published in the March 2011 issue of Site Selection Magazine and on their award-winning website http://www.siteselection.com.

The Grant County Economic Growth Council is a non-profit organization with the mission to facilitate investment and reinvestment for job creation and retention in Grant County.

You can view the Micropolitan rankings by clicking here.

You can view the Site Selection cover story here.

County Counts: 2010 Business Numbers

Population statistics for Indiana counties in 2010 don’t reveal many surprises. For those interested, we’ll list the top 10 below.

I came across some recent numbers, however, that included businesses, sales and employees by county. Among the items that jumped out: Elkhart, while sixth in population, number of businesses and employees, generated the third highest sales total.

Here’s the numbers; draw your own conclusions.

Top 10 in population:

1. Marion: 892,403

2. Lake: 501,248

3. Allen: 356,857

4. Hamilton: 280,425

5. St. Joseph: 271,159

6. Elkhart: 202,892

7. Vanderburgh: 176,122

8. Tippecanoe: 168,650

9. Porter: 165,244

10. Hendricks: 143,458

Top 10 in businesses (ranked by number of employees)

COUNTY                            BUSINESSES           EMPLOYEES              SALES

1. Marion                                33,788                     633,691             $157,929,646

2. Allen                                   12,540                     197,661              $48,525,593

3. Lake                                   15,207                     176,748              $37,617,188

4. St. Joseph                           9,146                     135,683              $24,793,763

5. Vanderburgh                       7,432                     131,769              $24,693,842

6. Elkhart                                  7,137                     122,835              $38,245,084

7. Hamilton                              9,350                     115,316              $24,953,277

8. Tippecanoe                         4,871                        88,321             $22,935,115

9. Monroe                                 4,608                        62,571             $11,051,280

10. Porter                                 5,362                        58,493              $15,312,321