Recap of the 2023 Entrepreneur Showcase Week

From the Kickoff Celebration and Awards to the Big Idea Pitch Competition and a spectrum of enriching workshops, the 2023 Entrepreneur Showcase Week at the Innovation Connector stands as a testament to the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the Muncie community. 

The 2023 Entrepreneur Showcase Week kicked off in style with a lively celebration at the Innovation Connector on Monday, November 13. Several awards were presented at the event including:

  • The 2023 Technology Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Travis Street from CTS Multifamily IT Solutions; 
  • The 2023 Life-Style Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Jeff and Debra Williams, from the Williams Carpet Shop; 
  • The 2023 Food and Beverage Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Mike Robinson and Chad Massoth from Amazing Joe’s; 
  • The 2023 Business Supporters of the Year, Bill Walters (ECI Regional Planning District) and Brad Bookout (Augusta Consulting, LLC); 
  • The 2023 Community Impact Entrepreneur of the Year, Mike Martin from The Common Market; 
  • The 2023 Champion Entrepreneur of the Year, Frank Scott II from K & B Car Wash-Detail; and 
  • The 2023 Champion Entrepreneurs of the Year, Jennifer and Tom Sheridan from Gibson Arena. 

These remarkable individuals and businesses deserve to be celebrated as they exemplify the spirit of entrepreneurship, inspiring others with their passion, perseverance, and dedication. Owning a business is no easy career path. Therefore, we commend them for their incredible achievements and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors. 

As this Entrepreneur Showcase Week was the second annual event of its kind, the Innovation Connector meticulously curated a series of events and engaging speakers, keenly attuned to the diverse needs of Muncie’s entrepreneurs and business owners. Throughout the week, a wide array of workshops delved into pivotal topics essential for budding and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. 

The workshop sessions covered a spectrum of themes, ranging from foundational aspects such as ‘How to Start Your Own Business’ and ‘The Fundamentals of Business’ encompassing Marketing, Finance, HR & Employee Management, to more nuanced subjects like ‘The Art of the Side Hustle’ and ‘Building Resilient People and Teams’. These sessions also addressed critical challenges, including ‘Managing Your Business During Tough Times’ and empowering discussions on ‘Overcoming Challenges for Women and Minorities in Business’. Plus a variety of other topics and discussions. 

This year also marked the resurgence of The Big Idea Pitch Competition, after a year hiatus. On November 16, entrepreneurs and innovators pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. There were two divisions this year: Lifestyle and Technology. The top achievers in the Lifestyle Division were Molly McGuire, securing the first-place position, followed by Andy Markelz in second place. In the Technology Division, two talented Ball State Entrepreneurship students triumphed: Will Pancake claimed the first-place spot, while Reid Glassen secured second place. Each first-place winner was awarded a prize of $5,000, while those achieving second place won a prize of $2,500 each. As the Big Idea Pitch ran for 8 years previously, the Innovation Connector was pleased to see it return better than ever. We would like to extend a congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all the participants for taking the leap to pitch their innovative ideas. 

Collaboration played a pivotal role in the success of this showcase. The Innovation Connector extends its gratitude to Ball State University’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute for hosting several events at their premises. This collaborative effort exemplifies the shared mission of empowering and celebrating local entrepreneurs.

A vibrant atmosphere pervaded the showcase, not only through insightful discussions but also with moments of refreshment. F45 Training treated attendees to Jack’s Donuts during the Kickoff Celebration and Awards, while Pizza King, Café at the Crossing, and Chick-Fil-A provided food items throughout the week! This ensured that everyone stayed fueled and engaged during the events.

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of sponsors. The Innovation Connector extends its sincere appreciation to the title sponsor, First Merchants Bank, for their continuous support. Additionally, immense gratitude goes out to all the sponsors whose invaluable contributions made Entrepreneur Showcase Week a resounding success.

The 2023 Entrepreneur Showcase Week encapsulated a week of innovation, collaboration, and celebration! It served as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs, fostering a community of support and learning and setting the stage for continued growth and success in Muncie’s entrepreneurial landscape. 

Big Idea Pitch 2023 Recap

The Big Idea Pitch Competition returned this year as part of Entrepreneur Showcase Week at the Innovation Connector.  On the evening of November 16, 2023, entrepreneurs and innovators pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. There were two divisions this year: Lifestyle and Technology. Adding to the ambiance of a baseball game, attendees enjoyed classic hot dogs and chips, evoking the nostalgic charm of a day at the ballpark. 

Two winners from each category rose victoriously, winning a cash prize for their innovative ideas. The first-place winners were presented with $5,000, while second-place achievers rejoiced with $2,500 each.  The winners of the Lifestyle Division in first place, Molly McGuire, and in second place, Andy Markelz.  The winners of the Technology Division were two Ball State Entrepreneurship students. Winning first place was Will Pancake, and in second place was Reid Glassen. Congratulations to all winners and participants.

The competition wasn’t just about who won. It was a chance for pitchers to get exposure, make connections, and further the opportunity for education and investment.  When people come together with their great ideas, amazing things can happen. Here’s to a future filled with even more innovation and success for the Muncie community. 

A big thank you to the sponsors as it would not have been possible without your support.  

Entrepreneur Showcase Week: Kick-Off Celebration and Awards

MUNCIE, Ind.— The 2023 Entrepreneur Showcase Week commenced with a vibrant Kick-Off Celebration held at the Innovation Connector on Monday, November 13, 2023. The event featured notable speakers such as Executive Director and CEO, Ted Baker; Program and Events Coordinator, Natalie Smith; Jeff Parsons, Market President of First Merchants Bank; Morgan Allen from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Muncie’s Mayor, Dan Ridenour; Ron Fauquher, Board Chairperson of the Innovation Connector; and Bernisa Elliot, Owner of BE’s Beauty. Together, they underscored the pivotal role of entrepreneurs and small businesses within the Muncie Community. 

Not only did attendees spend the morning networking with fellow community members while enjoying coffee and donuts, but Ted Baker also presented Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for several different categories. We would like to extend congratulations to: The 2023 Technology Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Travis Street from CTS Multifamily IT Solutions; The 2023 Life-Style Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Jeff and Debra Williams, from the Williams Carpet Shop; The 2023 Food and Beverage Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Mike Robinson and Chad Massoth from Amazing Joe’s; The 2023 Business Supporters of the Year, Bill Walters (ECI Regional Planning District) and Brad Bookout (Augusta Consulting, LLC); The 2023 Community Impact Entrepreneur of the Year, Mike Martin from The Common Market; The 2023 Champion Entrepreneur of the Year, Frank Scott II from K & B Car Wash-Detail; and the 2023 Champion Entrepreneurs of the Year, Jennifer and Tom Sheridan from Gibson Arena. 

The second annual Entrepreneur Showcase Week Kick-Off Celebration served as an inspiring testament to the ingenuity, dedication, and impact of entrepreneurs and small businesses within the Muncie Community. As we honor the recipients of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards across various categories, we look forward to many more years to come of celebrating, empowering, and connecting entrepreneurs in the Muncie area. 

Please Join The Innovation Connector During Global Entrepreneurship Week

A brand new Showcase Week banner is pictured hanging in the lobby of the Innovation Connector. Photo by the Innovation Connector.

By Ted Baker, CEO, Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc.—

MUNCIE, IN—Each year in November, the Global Entrepreneurship Network hosts its signature week of events, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW.) This year, GEW is celebrated from November 13 -19, with events and activities occurring worldwide. The theme for 2023 GEW is “Entrepreneurs Thrive Here.”  GEW aims to “celebrate and empower entrepreneurs in every country and community around the world – especially those individuals who face structural barriers or may have never considered the idea of launching a startup.” This year, over 170 countries hosting thousands of events will be part of this celebration. We are excited to be part of a week of events supporting millions of entrepreneurs worldwide. What does this mean for Muncie and the Innovation Connector?

The Innovation Connector is proud and excited to be part of GEW this year with its event, Entrepreneur Showcase Week. In fact, as of the writing of this article, Muncie ranks 2nd in the United States in the number of events that are taking place during GEW.  The only city that outranks Muncie is Tulsa, OK – a much larger city with a well-established startup and technology ecosystem.  This amazing accomplishment illustrates the Muncie community’s value on entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurs and business owners.

Most of the events that are taking place during GEW will take place at the Innovation Connector.  The Ball State University Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute will host several events as well.  To maximize the impact of GEW in Muncie, the Innovation Connector and the BSU Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute are partnering to bring impactful events and opportunities to our community. For a complete listing and to register for Entrepreneur Showcase Week events, go to  Because of the generous support of over thirty partners and sponsors, all events are FREE to attend.  Registering in advance is very important because space is limited and the popularity of the events. Again, register at

As part of Entrepreneur Showcase Week, the Innovation Connector is thrilled to welcome back The BIG Idea Pitch competition.  This year marks the ninth time the Innovation Connector has hosted this event.   This locally grown program is one of the most popular events held in Muncie each year.  To prepare participants for the best pitches, the Innovation Connector hosts three Training Camps: October 26, November 2, and November 9.  Training Camps are held at the Innovation Connector from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and are free to attend.  While attending Training Camps is not mandatory to participate in The BIG Idea Pitch, it is highly recommended. Registering for Training Camps is easy –  The deadline to register to be a participant in The BIG Idea Pitch competition is Noon, Friday, November 10.  Registration is easy and should only take a few minutes of your time.  Participants must be a resident of Delaware County or currently enrolled in school in Delaware County.  There are two competition categories: Tech-enabled businesses and Lifestyle businesses.  Cash prizes and entrepreneurial services will be awarded for 1st and 2nd places in each category that evening.

Entrepreneur Showcase Week is a fun and exciting time in Muncie and at the Innovation Connector.  There are many workshops, panel discussions, and seminars during Entrepreneur Showcase Week – something for all entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Please join us as we partner with the worldwide entrepreneurial community to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week and Entrepreneur Showcase Week.  For more information, please call 765-285-4900, or visit


ESW Luncheon Postponed

The Innovation Connector: Starting a Business is Not Easy – But it is Possible!

By Ted Baker, CEO/Executive Director—

MUNCIE, IN—The idea of starting a business is not new.  According to an article in Immerse Education 2023’s “A Brief History of Business and the Evolution of Business,”  “Business as we know it can be traced back 3,000 years to India and China, where companies – with structures resembling sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. At this time, they began entering into contracts and owning property, essentially setting up the basic frameworks of business that we use today.” Today, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 32.5 million small businesses are in the United States. In the United States alone, around 595,000 businesses fail or close yearly for various reasons, but over 627,000 businesses get started. Despite these discouraging numbers, countless individuals continue to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. This article will explore three compelling reasons people are willing to take risks and start or grow a business, even when the odds of success are low.

The first reason is the opportunity for potential financial benefits. For most people, income is earned by the work we do and the job we have.  The possibility of financial success is a significant motivator for entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs know the risks and hazards of starting a business, but their dreams and visions of financial success are driving factors to venture out on their own.   They see entrepreneurship as a pathway to financial independence and the opportunity to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Reason number two, why businesses are started when the success rates are low, is the allure of independence, flexibility, and autonomy.  According to Business News Daily, “freedom and passion, not money, is the main motivation” for someone to start a business. And continuing, “they are also motivated by the idea of creating something from the ground up.”  According to an eye-opening quote from AI/Chat GPT, “The appeal of autonomy goes beyond financial considerations. It encompasses the freedom to work on projects that align with one’s values and priorities, set one’s schedule, and build a company culture that reflects their vision. For many entrepreneurs, the prospect of being in control of their destiny outweighs the inherent risks of starting or growing a business.” The desire for freedom and self-determination can be a powerful motivator, even when faced with low success rates.

Let’s be clear here. Having the independence and freedom of being a business owner is not as easy as it sounds. I can recall from my personal experiences the first few years of my business startup were filled with long hours, long weeks and weekends, and many missed family meals and events. When the business is successful and continues to grow and mature, there will be opportunities to be flexible and enjoy certain freedoms.  I could leave my work in the middle of the day to attend school events with my children.  I loved having this freedom, but it usually included returning to my office afterward and working later in the day than normal. This is a wonderful part of business startup and ownership, but there will always be tradeoffs for the time spent at home and work.

Many entrepreneurs are driven by their desire to solve a problem, create something meaningful, or bring their unique vision to life. This intrinsic motivation often overshadows the fear of failure and drives them to persevere in adversity. This is the third reason people take risks when starting a business when the success rates are low.  Passion and purpose are powerful forces that can sustain entrepreneurs through the challenges and setbacks inherent in the business world. When an entrepreneur genuinely believes in what you are doing and is committed to making a positive impact, the prospect of failure becomes a secondary concern. For these individuals, the journey itself is as important as the destination, and they are willing to embrace the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. While passion is vital to the startup of any business, entrepreneurs must remain committed to handling the practical aspects of business, such as accounting, marketing, sales, and more. Without sound business practices, emotion and passion will not sustain a business.

The Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc. is committed to assisting entrepreneurs, startups, or those already in business with the necessary resources and tools. As East-Central Indiana’s only full-service Entrepreneur Support Organization (ESO), the Innovation Connector provides practical resources and connections for people at any stage of business development. If you need assistance with your business, please allow the Innovation Connector team to join you on your journey. Most of our business advising services are FREE and available to anyone needing help.

Mark your calendars now for the following event dates:

Entrepreneur Showcase Week 2023 – November 13 – 17 – visit for details and information about this event.

The BIG Idea Training Camps: October 26, November 2, and November 9 – each date from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

The BIG Idea Pitch Competition Pitch Night: November 16 – Starting at 6:00 pm

For additional information about the Innovation Connector, please visit or call our office at 765-285-4900.

The BIG Idea Pitch – Why this Contest is Important

Muncie Journal Article – July 2023

By: Ted A. Baker, CEO/Executive Director

Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc.

The BIG Idea Pitch – Why this Contest is Important

During my thirteen years as Executive Director of the Muncie Innovation Connector, I have met with, coached, advised, counseled, and encouraged many individuals who have thought about starting or owning a business.  This continues to happen several times each week.  In addition, the Small Business Development Center, located in the Innovation Connector, meets with clients in Muncie and East-Central Indiana, hoping for the same. With the availability of resources found on the internet, getting information about how to start a business is easier today than ever before. And with this vast amount of information, people sometimes deal with what I call “information overload.” More data, information, and resources are available than most can navigate.  Then the question is asked, “Is this good information?” “Have I received the best advice for my ideas and ventures?”

In 2014, in response to the need for business startup information, the Innovation Connector formed a program known as The BIG Idea Pitch.  Our initial thoughts were to provide educational and business idea-sharing opportunities in a safe and fun environment. We wanted one evening dedicated to individuals pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges.  And because of our wonderful sponsors, we offered prize money for winning pitches. Keeping with the baseball theme, we hosted three Training Camps leading to the pitch competition.  Guest presenters shared their perspectives on topics, including idea generation, problem and solution identification, business modeling, and presentation pitch skills. Year one of The BIG Idea Pitch competition was a BIG success!

From 2014 – 2021, The BIG Idea Pitch became a very popular event and one of the “signature events” of the Innovation Connector. Each year, at least fifty Muncie-area ideators participated in The BIG Idea Pitch competition by attending the Training Camps and pitching business ideas.  We even hosted this competition in November of 2020 – the pandemic year.  Each year as part of the event, pitch nights were streamed via several social media platforms, with viewers reporting from many states outside Indiana – even California.  Due to scheduling and funding issues, The BIG Idea Pitch did not occur in 2022.  However, I am pleased to announce that The BIG Idea Pitch returns on November 16. as part of Entrepreneur Showcase Week 2023.

Why does the Innovation Connector invest so much staff time, energy, and money into this initiative? Here are three reasons why we value The BIG Idea Pitch.

1.) The BIG Idea Pitch provides an opportunity, unlike any other in our community, to collaborate with other ideators and to learn the art and science of launching a business from an idea. Most people with a business startup idea tend to daydream about their ideas, plans, and how to get started.  Having the opportunity to talk with other people “like” them can provide tremendous benefits.  Those who have walked this journey before can share their experiences and things to do and what not to do. This kind of support cannot be gained by reading a book or watching a video.  These connections and relationships are difference-makers for a startup entrepreneur.

Starting a business takes work! A person must go through the process to understand the depths of commitment and learning needed.  The BIG Idea Pitch initiative provides a place that offers educational opportunities for entrepreneurs to gain critical knowledge, advice, and feedback from experienced entrepreneurs. This is why this program has been so successful.

2.) The BIG Idea Pitch is a community-wide event that brings together businesses, funders, people with ideas, educators, and local government officials for a common cause.  Everyone loves a business startup success story! When a person starts a new business, the impact can be felt community-wide. Lending institutions and funders can finance deals, community members love to support new businesses, and government officials celebrate because they understand that healthy communities need new businesses.  And new startup owners can start their journeys and dreams of owning a business. Pitch night is such a fun and inspiring evening.  We learn each year that the Muncie community has a vast array of creative business talent. The ideas pitched during past competitions have been amazing.  Those participating ranged from very young ( 8 years old) to baby boomers (60+ years old,) high-tech inventors to pizza makers, and dreamers wanting to start a business to send deceased loved ones’ ashes into space to a simple invention that makes buttoning the top button of a hanging shirt easier. And the list goes on and on.

3.) The BIG Idea Pitch is all about people. The Innovation Connector staff has made the application and participation process simple and easy.   The goal has been to remove as many barriers to entry as possible. First, it is free and open to everyone in Muncie and Delaware County. The BIG Idea Pitch provides educational opportunities and access to available resources to participants if they hope to start a business.  Our team, supporters, and presenters will help anyone who requests help – from refining an idea to structuring their pitch.  Applying to participate on pitch night could not be any easier. All that is required is to go online to, provide your name, home address, contact email address, and phone number and, with three sentences maximum, explain your idea. You will then be contacted, and our team will guide you through the rest of the process.  In addition, the prize money awarded to the winning pitches can be used for any purpose – no strings or rules attached.  While we hope the winning dollars will be used to start a business, sometimes in life, more pressing needs may hinder a person from moving forward.  One pitcher used the winning funds to repay a school loan, hindering this person’s monthly cash flow. After paying off the student loan, this person could afford to move forward with the business startup idea.

Mark your calendars now for the following dates:

The BIG Idea Training Camps: October 23, October 30, and November 6- each date from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

The BIG Idea Pitch Competition Pitch Night: November 16 – Starting at 6:00 pm

All events will take place at the Innovation Connector.

Please consider joining the Innovation Connector to be part of The BIG Idea Pitch 2023.  Applications will be accepted starting on August 1, 2023, at, and click on the “The BIG Idea Pitch” icon. For more information, please log on to, or call our office at 765-285-4900.

Empowering Entrepreneurs in 2023

By Ted A. Baker, CEO/Executive Director, Muncie Innovation Connector—

MUNCIE, IN—After a successful initiative last year, Celebrating Entrepreneurs in 2022, the Innovation Connector has chosen a new theme for 2023: Empowering Entrepreneurs in 2023. While we will continue celebrating entrepreneurs, we believe the next step is to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners to be empowered – to learn, collaborate, and share their knowledge with others.  As I have expressed in prior articles, one key trait of a successful entrepreneur involves being a lifelong learner.  Because of rapidly changing technology, consumer market changes, continual demographic shifts, and current workforce shortages, it is now more critical than ever for businesses to understand the business landscape so changes and pivots can be made if necessary.

There are several ways for entrepreneurs and business owners to be lifelong learners.  First, be a reader.  This is the easiest way to engage in the learning process.  Books are available for nearly every topic, problem, opportunity, motivation, business success and failure, how to start a business, how to end a company, and the list goes on and on.  I did a quick Google search, “books about business and entrepreneurs,” resulting in 102 million hits in .74 seconds.  No one may know the exact number of books that have been written on this subject, but one thing we do know – it is a significant number! I have read many books on these topics and have accumulated quite a library.  I often utilize concepts I have learned from reading, which I can apply to my work at the Innovation Connector.  Subject matter experts share their knowledge for others to learn. We can learn so much from their advice and experiences.

Our reading does not have to be limited to only books. Reading articles from various publications can provide great insight into successful entrepreneurship.  Articles are usually topic-focused, meaning they are written with a limited topic scope.  An example would be an article about the legal issues of starting a business compared to a book that would include this topic in “How to Start a Business.”  Articles are easier to write, allowing for a greater range of thoughts on topics.  And there are plenty of written articles.  Again, a simple Google search, this time for “articles on entrepreneurs and business,” yielded 205 million hits in just.47 seconds.  I love reading articles for one simple reason – they are short!   Everyone in the business world is busy.  Our available time is limited.  Reading an article or two when I have the right time is meaningful, and I learn a lot.

Again, there are articles written about every business topic.  I recommend you find a magazine or publication that appeals and start creating a regular reading routine.  Karl LaPan, Director, UF Innovate/ Accelerate @ The Hub & Sid Martin BioTech, and a leading international expert on business development, is an avid reader and writer.  He believes entrepreneurs and business leaders must read regularly.  He writes, “Passionate entrepreneurs are engaged learners, and agile learning is integral to your relevance. By prioritizing agile learning, Founders foster a high-performance culture, nurture higher levels of engagement within their organization, and promote adaptability, intellectual curiosity, and collaboration between themselves, their stakeholders, and especially with their customers.”

A second way to be a lifelong learner is to network with like-minded leaders and people who inspire and challenge you.  This usually involves one-on-one time with others, including mentors, other leaders in their field, and maybe even a business coach.  Each of these is based on developed relationships.  This is one of the most meaningful and impactful ways to learn.  Ryan Carruthers, Content Marketing Manager at Together Software, expresses this in an article, 7 Reasons Mentorship is Integral to Growing Your Career.  She says, “A mentor will support you, cheer you on, provide feedback and advice, and help you define and reach your goals.  It can be a key relationship in your life and potentially impact your choices and career trajectory significantly.”

Being a business owner can be very lonely.  Because of sensitive topics that a business owner deals with, such as financial issues, employee changes, and a possible sale of the business, to name a few, it is not wise for a business owner to share this information with others in the business.  Many owners then keep this information to themselves and try to process how to handle it.  A trusted network of wise and experienced people can be a lifeline to the owner.  From my experiences, my contacts have always been willing to listen, provide opinions and advice, and, most importantly, encourage me.

I have attended many professional conferences during my time in business and my role at the Innovation Connector.  While learning subject material at these conferences is valuable and important, some of the most valuable takeaways are from discussions with my peers before and after sessions, in the conference lobby and hallways, and even during a meal.  And as a result of these experiences, I have accumulated a list of colleagues and experts I can contact anytime if needed. And I also am a resource for these colleagues.  Relationships matter and are a must for the lifelong learning journey.

A third way to be a lifelong learner is to attend conferences, workshops, and seminars, online or in-person, to develop skills, gain new ideas, and become more informed about subject matters of interest.  As I previously mentioned, I have attended many conferences and learning sessions during my professional career.  While some sessions may be different from what I was hoping for in the delivery of content, I have always been able to learn something.  And there is no shortage of events you can attend. Business associations usually host conferences that members and guests can attend.  Universities and colleges offer a plethora of business, and relevant events in that one can learn by participating.  Some organizations host workshops, seminars, webinars, and panel discussions in nearly every community.  This is true for the Muncie community.  The Indiana Small Business Development Center and The Shafer Leadership Academy, located in the Innovation Connector, offer various relevant events that community members can attend.  Both organizations provide quality and professional programming.  Please visit their websites ( and ) to see what is being offered in 2023.

The Innovation Connector also hosts many events throughout the year. As part of our mission to “Empower Entrepreneurs in 2023,” the Innovation Connector is ramping up the number of programs offered in 2023.  This is being done as a direct result of the impact of the recent Entrepreneur Showcase Week.  A few examples of what is being planned include:

  • Providing Excellent Client Experiences – Based on the Disney model
  • Learning to Excel with Excel
  • Several workshops about marketing for small businesses, including social media and geofencing, and analytics
  • A course about Enneagram and how knowing your “number” can help in everyday life and business – presented by Jennifer Stanley
  • Coding Clubs, robotics, programming drones, and summer day camps for students in grades 2-8.
  • What parents and caretakers should know about their children’s devices, the internet, apps like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and more
  • Securing your business’s internet, computers, and personal devices
  • What is Square Space?
  • Presentation Design
  • Women’s Peer Group Experience
  • Funding Opportunities for your business
  • And more…

Starting in February, a rolling list of courses offered by the Innovation Connector can be found at  Registration information, dates and times, and prices will also be posted on this website. Our office phone number is 765-285-4900 – Monday – Friday from 8 am – 4 pm, or email Natalie Smith, Events and Program Coordinator, at

This new year, 2023, is a perfect time to begin or continue our lifelong learning journeys.  I wish you well.

Save the Date: Entrepreneur Showcase Week is Back 2023!

In November 2022, the Innovation Connector hosted the first annual Entrepreneur Showcase Week to learn, network, and celebrate with the community’s entrepreneurs. The week was a huge success. Entrepreneur Showcase Week will return in 2023 with an exciting new theme of “Empowering Entrepreneurs”! Mark your calendars for November 13th – 17th for a fun, educational, and empowering week for entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for more information over the coming months about what’s in store for Entrepreneur Showcase Week 2023. Learn more

Announcing the Inaugural 2022 Entrepreneurs of the Year Award Winners

By Ted A. Baker, CEO/Executive Director, Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc.—

MUNCIE, IN—Since May of this year, the Innovation Connector has been planning and preparing for Entrepreneur Showcase Week in Muncie.  As a reminder, this event is unique to the Muncie community, and no other community has attempted anything like this.  Entrepreneur Showcase Week comprises twenty workshops, panel discussions, discussion groups, and networking groups during one week – all at the Innovation Connector facility.  Because of our very supportive sponsors, all but one event is FREE.

Why should you attend part of or all of the events during Entrepreneur Showcase Week?  Because there is something that can benefit all entrepreneurs and business owners.  I know that most business-minded people consider themselves “life-long learners.”  There is always more to learn, knowledge to share, and data to keep up with.  Over fifty Muncie area business owners, entrepreneurs, and business leaders will participate as presenters and panelists that will highlight topics such as:

  • Creative Marketing
  • Computers, IT, and Security for Businesses
  • How to Start a Business & How to Start/Grow a Restaurant
  • Developing a Startup Tech Business
  • Continuing Educational Opportunities for Business Owners
  • Mental Health Awareness and Work-Life Balance
  • Makers as Entrepreneurs
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Bookkeeping and Accounting
  • Starting a Side-Gig
  • Providing Excellent Customer Experiences (from the Disney model)
  • And more

Additional sessions include a Tailgate Celebration for all entrepreneurs and business owners, a Women’s Brunch to celebrate International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and the Opening Kickoff Celebration to start Showcase Week at 8 am Monday, November 14.  Join us for a Mayoral Proclamation of Entrepreneur Showcase Week, donuts and coffee with Mayor Ridenour, and the Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards presentation.

The 2022 award winners include a special group of talented entrepreneurs in the Muncie community.  Each award winner contributes their success to others who have worked with them as their businesses started and grew.  So, in the true Spirit of Entrepreneurship, we are thrilled to announce the first-ever Entrepreneurs of the Year, and congratulations to each winner.

2022 Technology Business Entrepreneur of the Year

Kurt Harrington, Founder

OEM Combustion Service LLC

2022 Life-Style Business Entrepreneur of the Year

Bernisa Elliott

BE’s Beauty Inc. & Elliott Property Rentals

2022 Restaurant Entrepreneur of the Year

Lynn A. Moore

Café at the Crossing

2022 Community-Impact Entrepreneur of the Year

Tiara Hicks

Rosebud Coffee House

2022 Legacy Mentor Award

Peggy Cenova

East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center

Please join us during this Kickoff Celebration to celebrate the winners’ impact on our community. If you plan to attend, RSVP to so we can ensure we have plenty of donuts!

Now is the time to celebrate entrepreneurs and business owners. And now is the time to register to attend events during Entrepreneur Showcase Week – go to  For additional information, contact the Innovation Connector at 765-285-4900 or by email: at