Entrepreneur Showcase Week powered by Innovation Connector

As the Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc. continues to lead the charge of “Celebrating Entrepreneurs in 2022,” our monthly Muncie Journal articles have highlighted several local entrepreneurs, their journeys, and what being an entrepreneur is all about. We have received many positive comments from Muncie Journal readers about how the articles have been insightful in their entrepreneurial endeavors. The Muncie community is home to many entrepreneurs and innovators, and we have much to celebrate. Businesses, especially small businesses, are vital to our community and beyond. I love this quote from Michael E. Gerber, founder of Michael E. Gerber Companies, “Don’t look at small business as a means to an end…look at it as a chance to create something of immeasurable value and beauty in a world that desperately needs it.” This is happening before our eyes every day in the Muncie community.

The Mission of the Innovation Connector is: To see job creation by providing guidance and entrepreneurial resources for individuals seeking to start or grow a business in East Central Indiana. In this light, I am thrilled to announce a new, week-long event-fest we call Entrepreneur Showcase Week, with twenty workshops, discussion groups, a tailgate party, lunch-and-learns, networking events, and more to take place from November 14 – November 19. All twenty events will happen at the Muncie Innovation Connector’s 1208 West White River Blvd facility. There will be business resources, learning opportunities, and support for nearly everyone – entrepreneurs, startup business owners, ideators, dreamers, and experienced business owners. Our hope is for the entire Muncie community to join together to celebrate entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs to gain valuable resources and knowledge to help with their business journeys. 

In addition to celebrating Entrepreneur Showcase Week, Global Entrepreneurship Week is celebrated during this same week. The Muncie community will join the rest of the world to celebrate all things “entrepreneurial.” Tuesday, November 15, is officially National Entrepreneurship Day – celebrated worldwide. How great is that! And Saturday, November 19, is designated National Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. That day, the Innovation Connector will host a brunch for women entrepreneurs at the Innovation Connector to celebrate their accomplishments, creativity, and impact on our communities.  

A complete listing of all twenty events is available at www.showcaseweek.com. Here are several events from this special week that I want to highlight. Entrepreneur Showcase Week begins with a Mayoral Proclamation and press announcement by Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour. Mayor Ridenour has been an advocate and supporter of local businesses, demonstrated in his plan which distributed federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to Muncie small business owners. The Innovation Connector will present several awards at this event: – Technology-Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Life-Style Business Entrepreneur of the Year, and Community Impact Entrepreneur of the Year, and Restaurant Entrepreneur of the Year.  A special Entrepreneur Mentor Legacy Award will also be awarded.  All of this will be followed by coffee and donuts with Mayor Ridenour.  

Several events will focus on resources for women-owned, minority-owned, and underserved businesses. These events include “Navigating Opportunities for Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses” presented by the Small Business Administration, and an event with the Ball State Entrepreneurial Institute’s Chic Innovate Program featuring women and business.  There will be a session led by our friends at Madjax that will focus on Makers as Entrepreneurs.   

There will be practical business sessions to assist everyday business owners and entrepreneurs. Some of these sessions include; “Tech Business Ideation Bootcamp – Starting and Growing a Tech Business,” “Continuing Education Opportunities for Small Business Owners,” “Start Your Own Business Workshop,” “Bookkeeping and Accounting – What your Small Business Needs to Know,” and “Creatively Marketing Your Business.”  Shafer Leadership Academy will also host a lunch-and-learn workshop, Creating an Inclusive Work Environment for College Grads & Individuals with Disabilities, presented by Eskenazi Health.  

In addition, there will be sessions on funding opportunities for small businesses, technology needs for entrepreneurs, “The importance of Side-Gigs,” and “How to Start or Grow a Restaurant.” Again, all sessions are designed with some level of entrepreneur and business ownership in mind.  

I want to highlight two additional events scheduled during this week. On Tuesday, November 15, we will host a Tailgate Celebration at the Innovation Connector for business owners and entrepreneurs. That evening, Ball State Football will host Ohio University for some MAC action at Schumann Stadium. Before going to the football game, we invite Muncie business owners and entrepreneurs to join us for a hot dog, chips, and a drink – all for $1 per person. What a great time to network and celebrate! And on Wednesday, November 16, we will host a breakfast session titled “Entrepreneurial Mental Health Awareness – A Discussion.” This event is so relevant for today’s multi-tasking business owners and will feature local mental health professionals and business leaders.  

Most events are FREE thanks to our amazing sponsors.  Thank you to Muncie-based First Merchants Bank for their support as Entrepreneur Showcase Week’s Title Sponsor.  Other important sponsors include Spotted Monkey Marketing, Ralph Amos/R & R Engineering Company, Inc., Whitinger and Company, Northwest Bank, City of Muncie-Mayor Dan Ridenour, Ball State University Office of Community Engagement, Deltec Solutions, Pizza King, American Electric Power (AEP), Ivy Tech Community College, Jay-Crew Landscaping, Inc., Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, Muncie Delaware County Black Chamber of Commerce, Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Shafer Leadership Academy, The Muncie Journal, Woof-Boom and WLBC Radio.  

Event registrations will begin on September 19. There are still sponsorship opportunities available. Do not hesitate to get in touch with me at tbaker@innovationconnector.com for details.