I am not an economist – The Good (and Bad) News for the State’s Economic and Entrepreneurial Future

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Members of Indiana’s business community should feel mostly optimistic about 2018, according to an outlook from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

For one, the forecast suggests Indiana’s gross state product is expected to grow by as much as 2.8 percent, slightly higher than the national GDP rate of 2.6 percent. Analysts attribute this growth to the labor force participation rate, which had risen by 0.3 percent. This upward trajectory translates into about 55,000 extra jobs a month.

Another factor in this growth is Hurricane Harvey. Sadly, about half a million cars and trucks were destroyed in Texas in the aftermath of the storm. Although unsustainable, Indiana’s auto industry is expected to gain some traction as a result of this disaster.

Consumer spending was strong in 2017 and will continue to increase in 2018, but at a rate lower than last yer. But per capita income has declined over the last five years. Experts attribute this to higher-paying manufacturing and construction jobs being replaced by lower-wage ones (“job swapping”). Think the closure of the Carrier Corp. plant.

Another factor related to earning power is education level. The Hoosier state ranks between 42nd and 44th of the 50 states in educational attainment. This is abysmal given our higher education assets. This state of affairs often negatively positions our more vulnerable residents–jobs that don’t require an undergraduate degree tend to be the first impacted during a recession. We are in a skills race. The better your skillset, the more opportunities you will have.

While this report bodes well overall for the state’s short-term future, we can do better. Economic growth not only impacts the present, but also has a positive employment influence into the future. One means to that end is fostering a more entrepreneurial climate. According to the Indiana Business Review, “The startup density in Indiana shows room for improvement, ranking 21st among the 25 larger states, with a rate of 63.5 startups per 1,000 firms.” Equally so, a hallmark of an effective, engaging and inclusive ecosystem is to offer a diverse array of resources and networks to engage the “entrepreneurial stack”.

The good news is that The NIIC is a growth engine for furthering the state’s innovation and startup scene. The NIIC is rocket fuel for great ideas, people, and companies. We are a catalyst for:

  • Fostering the commercialization of innovations to create new jobs, cool companies and industries employing Hoosiers;
  • Developing, growing and retaining local, regional and statewide talent;
  • Expanding experiential entrepreneurship education and nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset at the high school level and above to address soft skill gaps that have led to wage stagnation in Indiana and other Midwestern communities; and
  • Enhancing and expanding access to capital resources and bootstrapping tools for business formation and new venture support

How can we help? Got an idea, come see us. Your first visit is always free. So, what is stopping you from taking the first step?


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