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7 Reasons To Launch Your Small Business in Indianapolis

A prime location, easy access to talent and tons of resources for entrepreneurs are just a few of Indy's assets.

By Emily Handy on July 22, 2022

16 Tech in Indianapolis
Courtesy of Indy Chamber

Looking to start a small business but aren’t sure where to set up shop? Look no further than Indianapolis!

The city has become a hotbed for tech companies and software start-ups.  Last year, Indy landed the No. 4 spot in the Best of the Midwest: Start-up Cities Rankings.

Access to resources for start-ups such as coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators, plus a central location and a vast pool of young talent are among the reasons Indy is a great place to launch your small business. Read on for more.

Indy’s Talent Pool Runs Deep.

It’s easy to find the best of the best in Indy when looking for young talent to staff your business. Companies like California-based Celigo have cited Indianapolis’ vast talent pool as a main reason for choosing it for the company’s third North American location. The Wall Street Journal ranked Indy as the fourth-strongest labor market among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

The heavy university presence both in the city and nearby, with schools including Butler, University of Indianapolis, Purdue, Indiana University, Franklin College, IUPUI, Marian University, Ivy Tech Community College and the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, providing companies with a steady stream of talent to choose from. The prestigious Orr Fellowship pumps over 100 college graduates into local start-up companies annually.

Indianapolis is also home to Ascend Indiana, a talent pipeline featuring an innovative job matching platform, labor market research and workforce development consulting.

Another plus? People here have a hard-working Midwestern mindset, and tend to stay in jobs longer rather than bouncing from job to job like those on the coasts.

Franklin College in Indianapolis
Courtesy of Indy Chamber

Location, Location, Location.

A company’s accessibility is important, and Indy’s central location makes it the perfect place for those whose businesses require travel to either coast. The city sits at the junction of four major interstates: I-65, I-69, I-70 and I-74. They don’t call it the Crossroads of America for nothing!

The Indianapolis International Airport has been ranked the top airport in North America for the 10th year in a row, so traveling for work is a breeze.

And, for small businesses relying on shipping, Indy is home to the second largest FedEx hub in the world, sorting 99,000 packages per hour.

It’s Affordable.

As home prices soar and living expenses rise, affordability is a huge draw for those looking to start a business. Indy is often touted as one of the most affordable cities of its size. LifeInIndy.com features a handy cost of living calculator that shows just how much more your dollar stretches in Indy compared to other cities.

Young, talented professionals looking to own a home or rent affordably while still living in a big city are flocking to Indianapolis, while companies can set up shop in the heart of downtown without paying premiums. According to Forbes, the cost of living here is 7.6 percent lower than the national average.

Indiana’s low tax rate is also a huge plus for entrepreneurs. The state of Indiana has a flat personal income tax rate of just 3.23 percent, and is on track to lower income taxes to just 2.9 percent by 2029. Corporate income tax rates are also low at just 5.25 percent.

Indy Has a Diverse Economy With a Serious Tech Presence.

Despite the pandemic, business is booming in Indy. Key industries in Indianapolis’ diversified economy are life sciences, advanced manufacturing, logistics, and sports, but the region has also become a hotbed for tech companies, with some touting Indy as the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest.” In particular, Indy is seeing unparalleled growth in B2B tech and software start-ups following Salesforce’s $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013. Major tech companies in Indy include Angie’s List, Salesforce, Rocketbuild and Appirio. Major national companies headquartered here are Eli Lilly and Co., Finish Line Inc., Anthem Inc., and the NCAA.

It’s a Business-Friendly City in a Business-Friendly State.

Rated the fifth best state for business and first in the Midwest by Chief Executive Magazine, Indiana is being noticed as an extremely business-friendly state. The city of Indianapolis is welcoming to those looking to open a business and offers helpful guides to help small businesses navigate zoning and permitting.

The state of Indiana boasts 22 Certified Tech Parks, with several in and around Indianapolis. These tech hubs support the growth of high-tech companies and feature co-working spaces, start-up incubators and business accelerators. Indy’s InTech Park is the biggest office development in the state and offers tech companies office space with ample on-site amenities.

Located in the heart of Downtown Indy, the brand new 50-acre innovation community 16 Tech is a gamechanger for the city’s business ecosystem. Not only does 16 Tech offer flexible office space (including start-up garages!), but it also features a collaborative makerspace, an artisan marketplace, start-up labs and a high-tech lab that hosts the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, among others.

16 Tech in Indianapolis
Courtesy of Indy Chamber

It Has Plenty of Resources for Start-ups and Small Businesses.

The nonprofit TechPoint leads in strengthening Indy’s tech ecosystem by connecting businesses of any size with customers, talent, venture capital and beyond. Four accelerators and incubators call Indy home, including the TechStars Sports Accelerator Powered by Indy, with a focus on sports and tech companies, and the High Alpha, a venture studio that both creates and funds various B2B SaaS companies.

Another unique resource is The Speak Easy, a collaborative workspace that helps start-ups in early stages build community in an affordable home base. With dozens of resources available, no matter what kind of small business you’re looking to open, Indy has you covered.

Broad Ripple Cake in Indianapolis
Courtesy of Indy Chamber

You’ll Have a High Quality of Life.

From the world-class attractions and sports to the city’s walkability and green initiatives, living is easy in Indy. You won’t spend all your time in traffic thanks to shorter-than-average commute times and the city’s extensive bus rapid transit (BRT) system, which is expanding its service even further. With all that extra time, you can enjoy more of what makes this city so special.

A burgeoning food scene (it has been recognized as an “Underrated Food City” by Condé Nast Traveler) and entertainment galore (it’s home to the largest children’s museum in the world and a top zoo) are just some of the city’s many perks.   

Indy is rated a top city for biking in part thanks to the internationally acclaimed Indianapolis Cultural Trail that winds 8 miles through the city. With vibrant neighborhoods and active communities, people work together in this city, and it’s full of innovators and changemakers looking to make the world a little better.

This article was sponsored by Life in Indy.

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