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Top 50 Indiana Companies to Watch to be drawn from 133 finalists | Business News | Lafayette Online
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News | Business News

Top 50 Indiana Companies to Watch to be drawn from 133 finalists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — More than 220 applications have been completed for the inaugural Indiana Companies to Watch awards program, which seeks to recognize the state’s 50 most promising second-stage companies this summer.

Purdue University is collaborating with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. through its Small Business Development Centers and the Edward Lowe Foundation for the 2008 program.

“Indiana Companies to Watch will celebrate high-performing, second-stage companies from all across the state,” said Sam Cordes, associate vice provost for engagement and co-director for Purdue’s Center for Regional Development in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. “Known for their performance in the marketplace, innovative products, unique processes and other special strengths, these nominated companies represent a wide range of industries and a key segment of what makes Indiana’s economy globally competitive and strong.”

More than 420 nominations were received from companies in 66 Indiana counties by the April 25 deadline. Nominees and those applying directly had until May 9 to complete the initial application. The 133 finalists were selected in late May from the 222 completed applications.

Finalists completed a second-round application and are being reviewed by a panel of judges selected by Purdue, the IEDC and the Edward Lowe Foundation. The 2008 class of Indiana Companies to Watch will be recognized Aug. 27 during a banquet at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.

“Awardees are chosen based on past growth and projected success, special strengths centered on innovative products and business practices, special use of technology, and work within their local communities,” said Gary Hentschel, president of KeyBank of Central Indiana. “These companies are making a significant impact on Indiana’s economy by collectively providing thousands of jobs and contributing billions of dollars of revenue.”

The top sponsor for the inaugural program is KeyBank of Indiana, along with Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Katz, Sapper & Miller. Other sponsors include Duke Energy Corp., Premier Capital Corp., Stuart & Branigin LLP, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Vectren Corp., Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Indiana Business Magazine, and media partner Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick.

“The response to this inaugural effort from all regions of the state has been outstanding,” said Jeff Heinzmann, director of the Indiana Small Business Development Centers. “The impressive list of applicants represents Indiana’s future economic growth in the life sciences, manufacturing, services and other sectors. We have a terrific story to tell about the dynamic future of Indiana’s economy and the essential role that second-stage companies play in building such an economy.”

Edward Lowe Foundation, based in Cassopolis, Mich., conducts research, educational and recognition programs for entrepreneurs and entrepreneur support organizations, with a focus on second-stage companies. Similar recognition programs are under way in Michigan and Arizona.

“Indiana has really raised the bar on the number of nominations and applications submitted from around the state,” said Penny Lewandowski, the foundation’s director of entrepreneurship. “This is concrete proof of the excitement that is being created statewide for their inaugural Companies to Watch program.”

To be eligible, companies must be based in Indiana, privately held, advanced beyond the start-up phase, employ six to 150 full-time employees, including the owner, and have $750,000 to $100 million in annual revenue or working capital in place from investors or grants. For more information, go to http://Indiana.CompaniesToWatch.org.

The Purdue team supporting the program includes representatives from the Center for Regional Development and the Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Agriculture, Krannert School of Management, Purdue Alumni Association, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and Purdue Research Park.

The Indiana Small Business Development Centers offer free and low-cost information, management counseling and educational services to support the state’s small-business owners and potential entrepreneurs, boosting economic development and creating jobs within the state.

Edward Lowe, the inventor of Kitty Litter, and his wife Darlene established the Edward Lowe Foundation in 1985. They envisioned an organization that would leverage entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic growth and community development.

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