September 13 – 17 is Small Business Week in Indiana, celebrating the more than 529,000 small businesses in Indiana and the more than 1.2 million hardworking Hoosiers they employ.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is recognizing several Hoosier small businesses that have worked with the Indiana Small Business Development Cente, a program of the IEDC, to start, grow or pivot their small businesses. These awards, presented in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, honor the entrepreneurs’ and small businesses’ achievements and their contributions to help grow Indiana’s economy and strengthen communities across the state.
The 2021 honorees are:
- Community Impact Small Business of the Year: Crossroads Solar Enterprises (South Bend)
Founded by Patrick Regan and Marty Whalen in 2019, Crossroads Solar Enterprises is a solar module manufacturer for residential, municipal and industrial scale applications, certified by the International Electrotechnical Commission and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Founded on a core social mission, the company employs individuals who have served time in prison, providing them with equal opportunity, living wage with benefits and labor skills to reenter the workforce.
- Innovative Small Business of the Year: InsightTRAC (Syracuse)
Founded by Anna Haldewang in 2017, InsightTRAC provides on-site robotic pest removal and data tracking services to help almond growers better manage and optimize their yields. The product provides real-time orchard insights and provides growers with an autonomous winter sanitation solution for what is currently a manual process.
- Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: bNutty Peanut Butter (Portage)
A minority- and woman-owned business founded by Joy Thompkins and later joined by Carol Podolak, bNutty Peanut Butter is a gourmet peanut butter producer offering a variety of flavors and gift baskets. What started as a fundraiser for youth soccer in 2014 has grown into a robust manufacturing operation with multiple production lines and a national customer base.
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Donte Wilburn (Lafayette)
Donte Wilburn, owner and operator of Premier Detailing and Wash LLC, founded his business in 2011 with the goal of providing high-quality services built on servanthood and trust. The company expanded operations to a second location in Kokomo in 2020, and in 2021, Donte and managing partners purchased Legacy Courts, a sports facility that has been in operation for six years, to build a safe space for Lafayette youth.
- Family-Owned Small Business of the Year: Fischer Farms (St. Anthony)
Founded by Diana and Dave Fischer in 2004, Fischer Farms is a natural meat producer providing premium, local, sustainable products to Hoosier families and restaurants. The sixth-generation, family-owned farm has expanded to meet the demand for local, fresh products.
- Rural Small Business of the Year: High Performance Alloys Inc. (Tipton)
Founded by Russ Kirchner in 1984, High Performance Alloys Inc. manufactures and distributes superalloys and super stainless steels to serve the needs of the aerospace, chemical processing, oil-gas, medical and food processing industries. With locations in Tipton and Windfall, the company employs more than 60 Hoosiers and serves a global customer base.
- Start-Up of the Year: Saaslio (Indianapolis)
Founded by John Harden, Saaslio is a data insight software designed to help IT-managed service providers understand their client Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems and their security implications. Since launching in March 2020, Saaslio has participated in gener8tor’s gBETA startup accelerator and secured six early adopter partnerships around the country.
- Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: MidAmerica Safety Solutions (Evansville)
Founded by Jeff Klump in 2017, MidAmerica Safety Solutions is a traffic control safety company providing on-site traffic management for work sites in the Evansville, Bloomington, Indianapolis and Cincinnati areas. As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Jeff and his team are committed to hiring veterans, retirees and veteran spouses through local organizations.
- Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Starlight Spirits & Wines LLC (Borden)
Founded by Dana and Jan Huber in 2001, Starlight Spirits & Wines LLC is the company responsible for the regional distribution of Huber wines. Part of Huber’s Orchard, Winery, and Distillery, the company is an agritourism destination in southern Indiana.
The Indiana SBDC provides no-cost expert guidance and a comprehensive network of resources to each entrepreneur looking to start or grow a business. These resources include capital access, business planning, export assistance and market research.
The state received an ‘A+’ grade for ease of starting a business (Thumbtack 2019) and ranks No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 6 in the nation for entrepreneur friendliness (SBE Council 2019).