The Indiana Economic Development Corp. and top state leaders touted its 2023 successes as the year closed, claiming a “seventh consecutive record-breaking year” of investments and business commitments that included nearly $29 billion in investments from 208 companies.
The quasi-governmental organization had a major leadership change in 2023, with Brad Chambers stepping down as Secretary of Commerce in August after two years to run for governor.
His successor, David Rosenberg, hailed commitments from “high-growth industries,” such as semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturers as well as clean energy producers in a press release.
“Indiana is thinking long-term and taking bold action to put Indiana at the forefront of critical innovations and to create a more prosperous future for Hoosiers,” said Rosenberg. “… Paired with unprecedented investments in entrepreneurship and quality of life, Hoosiers can look forward to more supportive and vibrant communities, more in-demand career opportunities and more opportunities to create generational change.”
Numbers from the annual report are regularly used by supporters to defend spending taxpayer dollars on often secretive business deals and hefty spot bonuses. The entity faces unprecedented pushback due to the LEAP development in Boone County, including the use of state dollars to purchase farmland above market value and the need for hundreds of millions of gallons of water piped in from Tippecanoe County.
Context for 2023
The lengthy IEDC release said 208 companies committed to locating or expanding in the state for a combined investment of over $28.7 billion, a 29% increase from 2022’s $22.2 billion. Those promises include the creation of 21,866 new jobs with an average hourly wage of $36.07 or $75,025 annually — 3.9% higher than 2022’s efforts and 10.2% higher than the national average wage.
Those numbers are the highest reported for the agency since it was established in 2005.
“Indiana is achieving unprecedented economic momentum that will catapult economic and community opportunities for Hoosiers for decades to come,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb in the release. “Our efforts to attract new investments and jobs, catalyze entrepreneurship and invest in quality of place are paying dividends – all while advancing high-tech industries to ensure that Indiana is at the center of tomorrow’s global economy.”
However, according to a 2023 analysis of employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties made less than the $70,343 national average wage — despite more than a decade of IEDC efforts.
In particular, the IEDC report highlighted recent and somewhat controversial moves from the General Assembly to expand its “toolkit,” including a site development fund and land acquisition fund — both of which have been used to purchase and develop land in Boone County for potential investors.
The IEDC said it had identified 417 “nationally competitive” sites throughout the state, ranging from 30 acres to 3,000 acres. Eli Lilly, the only announced tenant for the LEAP project, broke ground on its facility in April with a promised $3.7 billion investment, but the IEDC claimed it had another $58 in potential investment “in the pipeline for the site.”
Lawmakers also earmarked $500 million for a deal closing fund to provide incentives for companies and $500 million for an additional round of READI grants for local development.
Thirty-seven foreign-owned businesses across 17 countries make up $20.6 billion of the investments, a 184% increase from 2022, and account for 8,509 of the planned new jobs with an hourly wage of $39.98. Of those, 18 businesses are new to Indiana.
Companies include: renewable energy manufacturer Canadian Solar, Israeli pharmaceutical company Isotopia USA, Japanese logistics company Bastian Solutions, Singapore solar energy startup Bila Solar, Swiss manufacturer Endress+Hauser and racecar company Arrow McLaren, of the United Kingdom.
The state’s venture market surpassed $1 billion for the second consecutive year and Indiana was named the 2025 host for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress — only the second time the United States has hosted the annual event.
The IEDC said it assisted more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses and launched a $1 billion capital access initiative to provide credit and equity to entrepreneurs while committing another $2 million to growing small businesses.
Through the Indiana Small Business Development Center, the IEDC helped 6,396 entrepreneurs and small businesses secure nearly $97 million in funding and launch 451 new businesses. In 2022 and 2023, the center supported the launch of 179 businesses in rural communities with 5,283 new jobs.
Indiana APEX served 180 new clients — 62% of which qualified as women-, minority- or veteran-owned enterprises — which secured more than $335 million in federal government contracts.
On the community development side, the IEDC awarded more than $487 million in the first round of READI funds to 361 projects with additional public, private and nonprofit matches bringing in a combined $12.6 billion in investments.
Caption: Indiana Sec. of Commerce David Rosenberg touts the achievements of the IEDC in 2023. (Photo from the IEDC)
This article originally was published by Indiana Capital Chronicle, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.