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Good business.

Positive things are happening to Indiana businesses. A favorable business climate includes plenty of assistance programs.

Companies are choosing Indiana for relocation and expansion, and companies already here are benefiting from a business-friendly environment.

Indeed, the Indiana Corporate Directory issue of Indiana Business Magazine keeps growing as more companies break the $5 million revenue barrier. And other organizations that follow business trends find good things happening as well--among them, Harris Publishing Co. says Indiana led the Midwest in manufacturing start-ups in its most recent tally. Also, government statistics show that the state's total personal income topped $100 billion last year for the first time ever. The income growth rate in Indiana exceeded that of the majority of other states, solid proof that Indiana fared well during the recent recession as well as in the sluggish months that followed.

Good things have been happening all over the state, even while the national headlines have been filled with gloom. Inc. magazine named Donald J. "Jerry" Ehrlich of Lafayette's Wabash National Corp. its national Entrepreneur of the Year, recognizing the relatively new company's phenomenal success. Founded in 1985, it already has vaulted to the top of the truck-trailer industry.

In Evansville, Whirlpool has poured millions of dollars into an expansion at its refrigerator plant and added some 1,000 workers to the 4,000 already employed there. Area suppliers to Whirlpool have benefited as well, gearing up their production to meet the new demand.

Vehicle customers across the country have recognized the quality of Indiana labor at General Motors' Fort Wayne Assembly, where some 2,500 workers make pickup trucks. According to the respected research firm of J.D. Power & Associates, the factory ranks second among all North American auto-assembly plants in terms of quality of production--only the Toyota plant in Kentucky ranks higher.

In Indianapolis, work continues on the United Airlines maintenance hub, the nation's largest economic-development plum in recent history. Nearby, the U.S. Postal Service's Eagle Air Hub recently was completed, and Federal Express is launching a multimillion-dollar expansion of its Indianapolis hub. And not far from the airport is a site where Washington-based Holladay Corp. wants to build a massive business park, one of the largest in the country.

How has Indiana tallied such impressive successes? By creating and maintaining a favorable business climate. Part of that climate comes from the plethora of assistance programs and other economic-development incentives that can be found around the state.

HELP IS EASY TO FIND

The cost of doing business in Indiana is reduced significantly by the various incentive and assistance programs available both to businesses choosing to move to Indiana as well as those already here.

Financial help--Indiana offers a number of places businesses may turn when they're seeking funds and credit for expansion or relocation. An example is the Gap Assistance Program. It's a revolving-loan program offering capital for small, expanding businesses that need to buy equipment or build or renovate a building. It especially targets those firms having trouble finding funding from the private sector. GAP is a state program that funnels money to businesses through Indiana's local municipalities.

Another source of help is the Indiana Development Finance Authority, which plugs businesses into capital markets to help fund industrial-development projects that retain or create new jobs. Its offerings include the Capital Access Program and the Loan Guaranty Program.

Other financial help is available through the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corp., which offers long-term, fixed-asset financing in amounts up to $500,000. Indiana banks share loan risk with the Statewide Certified Development Corp. when it offers this kind of financing. And growing small- and medium-sized companies can access a pool of funding from private financial institutions through the Indiana Community Business Credit Corp. Programs of both organizations are administered by Cambridge Capital Management Corp., a professional-management organization.

Another possibility is the Capital Access Program, which has a somewhat different approach but is similar in the goal of sharing risk in order to make funds available to businesses that otherwise would have trouble getting them.

Tax advantages--Corporations doing businesses in Indiana are subject to income tax, property tax and sales tax. But sales-tax exemptions are not hard to arrange. Raw materials used in production plus production tools and machinery are exempt from sales tax. There also are various property tax deductions and abatements that help businesses expand, relocate or renovate property.

In addition, enterprise zones have been created in more than a dozen Indiana communities. Businesses that set up shop in the zones benefit from gross income tax exemption, income tax credits and property tax credits. Loan interest credits are available to financial institutions which lend to enterprise-zone companies, and individual investors also may earn tax credits.

Infrastructure assistance--A number of state programs take care of the infrastructure needs related to business establishment and expansion. The Industrial Development Infrastructure Program offers grants to smaller communities to help them develop infrastructure to support business investment. As much as 75 percent of a project's total cost can be covered. There's also a state Industrial Development Fund that offers grants and loans for public infrastructure. Meanwhile, infrastructure improvements may virtually pay for themselves through Tax Incremental Financing, where the extra tax revenues created by property improvements finance infrastructure improvements.

Training programs--A program known as Training 2000 gives financial training and retraining aid to manufacturers and distributors. It emphasizes basic skills as well as problem solving and team building. Also, Job Training Partnership Act funds are available through the Department of Workforce Development. There's also a Job Service Matching System, a statewide computerized network that connects companies with qualified job applicants. The employment and training department will assist companies in screening, testing and selecting employees.

Additional assistance is available through the state's Indiana Labor-Management Council, whose services include training in team building and total-quality management.

Expert advice--The Indiana Small Business Development Corp. links all state-funded small-business-development programs, including the regional Small Business Development Centers, the Institute for New Business Ventures, the Minority Business Program and the Government Marketing Program.

Businesses developing innovative technologies or products may contact the Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corp., which coordinates resources from the public, private and academic sectors to aid in research and development. It also arranges a variety of university-based technical-assistance programs. Firms whose products rely on electronics may benefit from one of the corporation's divisions--the Indiana Microelectronics Center in Fort Wayne, which helps businesses develop technology known as application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs. These computer chips are essential parts of both everyday and high-tech products. The center not only helps businesses determine if their products can utilize ASIC technology; it also will help businesses design ASICs.

Strategic development--Under the philosophy that similar businesses have similar needs and problems, the Strategic Development Fund has grant and loan money available to businesses that pool their resources for research, marketing, export development, technology deployment and other cooperative ventures.

Regulatory relief--Businesses, communities and local economic-development organizations can seek help from the Regulatory Ombudsman's Office as they seek permits for various activities. The office mediates and expedites regulatory and permitting dealings with the state. Its Permit Assistance Center is a computerized database of all permits necessary to do business in Indiana.

Energy policy--Businesses can save energy, as well as money, when they turn to the Office of Energy Policy for help. It conducts audit workshops to help businesses assess their energy usage and learn how to be more efficient. It has a variety of conservation and alternative energy resources available. And it can help businesses learn how to save money through the recycling of in-house and process materials.

Encouraging exports--Indiana actively assists companies trying to engage in international business from Indiana. The state makes available international trade specialists who help businesses develop international clients, export their products and market their wares overseas. The state has overseas offices in six countries, with staffers qualified to solve trade transaction problems, conduct market research, arrange business meetings and promote trade missions. There's an annual video directory of Indiana products and services that is circulated overseas. And, Indiana was the first state government to sign an export-promotion agreement with the Japan External Trade Organization.

The state Department of Commerce's International Trade Division also has a Trade Show Assistance Program, which offers financial assistance to companies planning to attend overseas trade shows. And its International Business Education Program reimburses up to half of the expenses companies incur when they use a variety of university programs associated with international business.

In addition, there are foreign-trade zones in several Indiana locations. Firms may operate in the zones free of Customs duties and hassles until their products enter U.S. Customs territory. Among others, the entire property of the Indianapolis International Airport is an FTZ, making it the nation's largest foreign-trade zone. And numerous Indiana companies receive zone benefits at their own plants through the foreign-trade "subzone" program.

UNIVERSITIES LEND A HAND

Indiana's universities for the past decade have been putting special emphasis on sharing expertise with the business world. All of the state's public universities and many of its private institutions have programs to help businesses in need of technical assistance, employee training and management expertise.

Technical and research assistance--Indiana University opens its doors to businesses with the Partners in Applied Research program. This connects companies with faculty researchers who help them on a low-cost, per-project basis. IU School of Business faculty members offer research and consulting services to Indiana business and industry. Also, graduate students sometimes assist businesses with research projects.

Purdue University runs a free Technical Assistance Program. It accepts assignments in areas that include engineering, industrial pharmacy, business management, food processing and food sciences. More than 20 faculty and technical assistants are on hand to answer questions or direct businesses to other Purdue experts. TAP helps business clients access technical literature, and it can arrange special laboratory studies and projects for companies that need more in-depth help.

Ball State University's Center for Entrepreneurial Resources offers its expertise in product design, strategic planning and case analysis. A separate Ball State center focuses on energy research and education, helping Indiana inventors of energy-related products and assisting industries that need indoor air-pollution assessments.

Indiana State University also shares its smarts through the Technology Services Center. It will connect businesses with appropriate ISU faculty experts. And not far away in Terre Haute is Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, which has an Inventor/Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program that helps inventors being new products to market. Rose-Hulman also houses the Center for Applied Optics, which is involved in research in fiber optics, lasers, and optical measurement and instrumentation.

Technical information--Purdue's Technical Information Service makes the university's engineering library available to businesses across the state. Users may tap into the computerized database via phone, and have materials sent to them in the mail. Staffers also can search national databases for additional technical materials.

Ball State offers a different kind of information via modem through its the Indiana Economic Development Academy. A database called INSITE lists available industrial buildings and sites, and is a valuable resource for businesses seeking to locate or expand in Indiana.

Management advice--ISU's Center for Research and Management Services at Indiana State offers businesses assistance with management, organizational and training problems. It conducts in-plant analyses of organizational structure, employee productivity and motivation. The center recommends changes based on its database that allows comparisons and measurements of various kinds of organizational structures.

Meanwhile, the University of Southern Indiana offers a Management Assistance Program and a Management Diagnostic Center. USI experts assess organizational needs through simulations and exercises that shed light on leadership, planning and organization.

Employee training--A number of Indiana colleges and universities help companies train their employees. Indiana Vocational Technical College goes to the workplace itself to offer employer-specific training programs, and it manages some state-funded training programs for certain relocating or expanding companies.

ISU's Center for Research and Management Services also does in-plant training, and has course work available for those in sales and marketing. The University of Notre Dame creates customized training programs for various industries and specific companies, usually set up as one- to three-week residential programs at the university. Among others, Ball State offers training programs, and Indiana has developed a specialized business-training curriculum in partnership with several Indiana companies.

Businesses also can access training and continuing-education options through Intelenet, a fiber-optic network that links Indiana educational institutions. Intelenet makes learning and technological resources especially accessible.

Labor-relations assistance--Indiana has comparatively few labor disputes, which may be due in part to the fact that expert advice on labor is easy to find. USI's Labor-Management Forum can help smooth adversarial relationships by bringing together labor, management and private-sector representatives. The program also strives to increase job security and boost productivity through work innovation and quality improvement.

Grant-writing assistance--Businesses engaged in research often are eligible for grant money, but have trouble finding out where to find such money or how to get it. A solution is ISU's Technology Services Center, which helps companies write grant proposals. IU's Industrial Research Liaison Program and Purdue's Business and Industrial Development Center also will tell companies what sources might have funds available, and will explain how to apply.

Research facilities--Purdue builds close relationships with business and industry through the Purdue Research Park, which offers facilities to a number of companies that need easy access to the university. The park is connected to the campus via high-speed fiber optics, and the park is home to the Business and Industrial Development Center and a Small Business Development Center. Another research park can be found at Rose-Hulman, and one is being developed at IU.

Air Base Available

Grissom Air Force Base is becoming an enterprise zone.

As the 305th Air Refueling Wing ceases operations at Miami County's Grissom Air Force Base by October 1994, the potential exists for companies to move into the 3,200-acre complex and create new, private-sector jobs there.

Of the 2 million-square-foot complex of buildings, 1 million square feet will be used by the U.S. Air Force Reserves, which will remain in operation on the base. The other 1 million square feet can be used by industrial, commercial and service industries, according to Steve Rockwell, executive director of the Peru/Miami County Economic Development Corp.

The redevelopment of the base will be helped by recent legislation allowing the establishment of a Grissom enterprise zone, which will allow businesses locating there to enjoy a variety of tax breaks.

"Approximately 20 Standard Industrial Classifications will be targeted," Rockwell says. Companies that would like to use the airport and its 12,500-foot runway also are being targeted under the reuse plan. An aviation technology or training center is a possibility. Other uses being considered are an aircraft repair and maintenance facility and charter or flying services.

Most attractive to potential businesses are the available office space, the buildings designed for machine shops, and the buildings that will be able to house larger industrial companies.

The base offers amenities including a nine-hole golf course, tennis and basketball courts, and a gym. There is a new dining hall, a banquet facility and the Grissom Inn.

Where to Call

INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE One North Capitol Suite 700 Indianapolis, IN 46204

Business Development Division--317/232-8888

International Trade Division--317/232-8845

Community Development Division--317/232-8911

Administrative Services Division--317/232-8782

Tourism and Film Development Division--317/232-8860

INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT 10 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204 317/232-7670

INDIANA BUSINESS MODERNIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY CORP. One North Capitol Suite 925 Indianapolis, IN 46204 317/635-3058 or 800/877-5182

INDIANA LABOR-MANAGEMENT COUNCIL 2780 Waterfront Parkway East Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46214 317/293-4101

INDIANA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORP. One North Capitol Suite 1275 Indianapolis, IN 46204 317/264-2820

INDIANA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS One North Capitol Suite 420 Indianapolis, IN 46204 317/264-6871

INDIANA DEVELOPMENT FINANCE AUTHORITY One North Capitol Suite 320 Indianapolis, IN 46204 317/233-4332

CAMBRIDGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT CORP. 8440 Woodfield Crossing Blvd. Suite 315 Indianapolis, IN 46240
COPYRIGHT 1993 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Report; Indiana businesses
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Words:2655
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