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.