Entrepreneurship is thriving in Grant County! On November 17th community leaders, business men and women, students, and families gathered at Meshingomesia Country Club to celebrate the 10th annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship dinner. The night focused on honoring the Young Entrepreneurs Program (YEP) and Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) award winners. Other awards were presented throughout the evening, including the Champion of Economic Development Award, and the YEP People’s Choice Award.
The 2016 SOE award was presented to Roger Dyson of Earthwise Plastics and James Gartland of Atlas Foundry. The Growth Council received 22 nominations for the award this year, which is the highest number of nominations ever received. The executive committee of the Growth Council, who is in charge of selecting a winner, cast three ballots before ending with a tie.
Past SOE winners include Mike and Sherri Bartrom of Computer Age Engineering, Steve & Phyllis Moorehead of Moorehead Communication, Dave and Sandra Loer of GP Designs, Rob and Ed Wiley of Wiley Metal Fabrication, Jerry, Joe and Tom Collins of The Collins Group, Henry Olynger & Patti Edwards of Olynger Corporation, Gary Ott of TLC Management, Darren and Nancy Campbell of Tree of Life, Rob and Cindy Wilson of Hoosier Jiffy Print, and Verlin and Tenley Horner of Horner’s Butcher Block.
Charity Bailey of the Growth Council said, “The basis of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship award is to take time to recognize outstanding entrepreneurs within our community.” The criteria for this award are:
- The company has existed for at least 5 years
- They display innovation in product or service
- The company creates significant impact on the community (financial or otherwise)
- The company is in Grant County
- They have high visibility in the community
- Has retained or created jobs
- The owner/CEO is an entrepreneur who shows perseverance
Also presented that night was the Champion of Economic Development award. Charlie Wallace received this award for his outstanding service in the community, having been a dedicated member not just to the Growth Council but to countless other organizations across Grant County. Past recipients of this award include Wayne Seybold, Karen Niverson, and Madonna French. Upon accepting the award, Charlie encouraged everyone to “focus on the positive here in Grant County. That largely shaped my perspective when I was first starting my career and impacted how I invested in the community for many years.”
The final honorees of the night were the 2016 Young Entrepreneurs Program participants. 5 teams, 4 from Mississinewa High School and 1 from Marion High School, completed the 10 week program and competed for the scholarship prizes. The first place team was Amores Cosmetics, which included team members Madeline Smith, Adriana Garcia, and Hailey Herron. Each student will receive a $1,500 scholarship to the school of their choice. Second place went to the Marion team for their sports facility business MGH Fieldhouse. Team members Andrea Persinger, Jalen Springer, and Macie McCarthy will all receive $1,000 scholarships. Third place, receiving $500 scholarships, went to Pet Promise team members Marah Murphy and Mitchell Peek.
Students displayed their business ideas at the SOE dinner during the YEP expo. Attendees had the chance to interact with the students, hear about their business plans, and vote for a People’s Choice award, which was ultimately presented to MGH Fieldhouse. Jim Wallace of Star Financial said, “The business plans seem to keep getting better every year.”
As the evening came to a close, Charity Bailey gave a challenge to all those in attendance: “Innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit are here in Grant County. I hope you saw that tonight. I challenge each of you to look for it, support it, and cheer it on.” The Grant County Economic Growth Council works to facilitate investment and reinvestment for job retention and creation in Grant County. Supporting entrepreneurship is one of the pillars of the Growth Council. Contact us to learn more about how you can support entrepreneurs in Grant County.