An initiative to spark economic growth and improve quality of life around the state has taken a step forward in Northwest Indiana.
Three of 34 projects were approved by the Northwest Indiana Forum Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to receive READI (Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative) grant funds. Northwest Indiana was among 17 regions across the state that received a share of $500 million in state grant funds.
“These three projects are the tip of the ice burg,” said Heather Ennis, president and CEO of Northwest Indiana Forum. “The NWI Forum looks forward to working with these committed READI grant recipients to continue infrastructure, business development and marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation, quality of place and talent growth in Northwest Indiana.”
The Region’s share of the state program was $50 million. The Northwest Indiana projects receiving funding include:
- Level Up NWI – United Way of Northwest Indiana – $1,880,029 READI funds/$3,975,527 total investment. The initiative provides assistance to the struggling residents in Lake, Porter, Starke, Newton, and Jasper counties by allowing the working poor to break through barriers to obtain higher-paying jobs to create a better life for them and their families.
- Minority Business Skills Enhancement Program – NWI SBDC – $141,000 READI funds/$197,400 total investment. The goal is to provide greater and more effective outreach and resources to minority and rural business owners and individuals starting businesses. Main services will be business plan assistance, finding financing, training on bookkeeping, assisting with digital marketing, and with MBE/WBE and other certifications. READI funds will be used to pay for consulting services and training materials.
- NWI Biz Hub Entrepreneur Resource Center – Legacy Foundation – $101,332 READI funds/$209,132 total investment. It will expand no-cost programming to small business owners in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Starke, Pulaski, Newton, and Jasper counties, while establishing program partners and resource navigators within each county. The goal is to increase the number of successful small businesses, the overall per capita wealth for Region residents, and increase the Region’s identity as a destination for entrepreneurs in Indiana.
Indiana launched the READI initiative to promote strategic investments designed to make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. It’s estimated statewide the READI program will result in $9.8 billion in total investment including local public, private and philanthropic match funding, which will serve as a catalyst to improve Indiana’s quality of place, quality of life and quality of opportunity.
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