A Valparaiso company was among 14 small businesses recognized by the state during the Small Business Impact Award program May 9 for their contributions to grow and strengthen Indiana’s economy.
The awards were presented in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week. Gov. Eric Holcomb also issued a proclamation declaring May 5-11, 2019 as Small Business Week in Indiana, highlighting the contributions small businesses make to the state’s economy.
Lokring Midwest, the Northwest region’s honoree, is a distributor of Ohio-based Lokring Technology weld alternative pipe and tube fittings. The firm is a veteran-owned business serving nuclear, petrochemical, health care, steel and defense customers across the Midwest.
Lokring Midwest was started by Steve Burke, an Army veteran, in 2009.
Lokring Midwest has four full-time employees in northwest Indiana and has undergone multiple expansions with the help of the Indiana SBDC. The company plans to break ground on a new warehouse this year, according to the state.
Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said small businesses represent 512,000 companies in Indiana, employing 1.2 million people.
“Small businesses play a critical role in maintaining long-term economic growth in Indiana and supporting good jobs in our communities,” she said. “As a state, we’re committed to building on the entrepreneurial climate that has helped launch companies like the ones being honored today and equipping Hoosier innovators with the tools they need to start and grow their dream businesses.”
Each award winner received business counseling from the Indiana Small Business Development Center, which provides entrepreneurs with guidance and resources on how to start and grow a business, including strategy development, business planning and valuation, export assistance and market research. The awards recognize businesses that received assistance from the Indiana SBDC’s 10 regional offices.
Indiana SBDC unveiled four new, statewide awards this year, recognizing the contributions of businesses that have made a significant economic or community impact in Indiana. The 2019 honorees included:
Community Impact Award: Bodyworks Studio, Logansport, founded by Natasha Walters in 2011, is a yoga studio offering programs and services aimed at boosting Hoosiers’ physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Innovative Small Business of the Year: Heliponix, Evansville, led by Purdue University graduates Scott Massey and Ivan Ball, is an agbioscience startup that commercialized an automated, aeroponic appliance called a GroPod to allow consumers to grow produce in the convenience of their own homes.
Social Enterprise of the Year: Bitchstix, Indianapolis, founded by Indianapolis-native Emily Kennerk in 2016, is a face and skin care company selling lip balms and skin products made with organic, environmentally-friendly ingredients. assault prevention programs to receive charitable support from the company.
Veteran Small Business of the Year: Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, Indianapolis, is the first combat-disabled, veteran-owned distillery in the nation and the first artisan distillery in Indianapolis since Prohibition. The company’s name was inspired by owner Travis Barnes’ military background, which included three tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marines.
In addition to Lokring Midwest, the other 2019 Small Business Impact Award recipients, based on the Indiana SBDC’s other regional offices include:
- Central: NinjaZone, Indianapolis
- East Central: Farmhouse Creative, Muncie
- Hoosier Heartland: Little Engine Ventures, Lafayette
- North Central: Ninja Golf!, Granger
- Northeast: Spectrum Virtual Reality Arcade, Fort Wayne
- South Central: Matrix Integration, Jasper
- Southeast: Indiana Caverns, Corydon
- Southwest: Tri-State Cylinder Head, Evansville
- West Central: Honeysuckle Hill Bee-stro, Brazil