It’s Your Business

Priority is to help local businesses begin, thrive

By Steve Bryant An Ivy Tech voice
September 16, 2011

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s service region includes six counties: Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties. There are approximately 315,000 people living in and more than 6,200 businesses operating in our region (source: StatsIndiana 2010). The decline in our economy over the past three years has taken a toll on the people and businesses in our region in many ways. Unemployment, lack of investment capital and general uneasiness about spending money have made things difficult for many of us. Yet, many small businesses continue to weather the storm and new ones are sprouting up across our region.

Politicians and economic development organizations across the U.S. have entertained more “grow your own” strategies where scarce resources are focused on starting and supporting locally based businesses, while less emphasis is being placed on recruitment of firms from outside the community. “Economic gardening” is one such model with the fundamental premise that entrepreneurs drive economies and resources should be allocated to “create” our own jobs.

What we have learned at the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship since its inception in 2010 is that there is a lack of understanding about the fundamentals of starting a small business that hampers entrepreneurial activities. The basics of where to incorporate your business, knowledge of our tax system, the need for insurance, how to work with an accountant and how to market with little money are just a few areas that continually puzzle our entrepreneurs. There is an abundance of information available to entrepreneurs through local business support agencies, on the Internet, from existing businessmen and women and our Cook Center staff, which provides advice to small businesses.

The late Bill Cook’s business philosophy, “ready, fire, aim,” is something that many area entrepreneurs value because “speed to market” can make or break a business. Better coordination of information, mentoring from local business talent and a little hand holding can help more people begin to achieve their dreams of creating their own job. The Cook Center is ready to help. For more, go to

Steve Bryant is executive director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington. Next week’s column will be from business leaders from Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Copyright: 2011

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.