Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Indianapolis, IN


Long known as a transportation hub that earned both the city itself and the state as a whole the nickname “Crossroads of America,” Indianapolis’ strong economy makes it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs.

Indianapolis, IN, the state’s capital city, is the 16th-largest city in American by both population and land mass. Long known as a transportation hub that earned both the city itself and the state as a whole the nickname “Crossroads of America,” Indianapolis’ strong economy makes it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs.

Business.org ranked the city 15th on their 2018 list of the best cities for entrepreneurs and start-ups, and the Kauffman Index ranked it 10th in entrepreneurial growth in 2017. Meanwhile, Indianapolis also ranked well on a pair of 2018 lists by WalletHub: 89th on the list of the best large cities to start a business (45th in the “Business Costs” category) and 64th on the list of the best metro areas for STEM professionals.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Indianapolis’ entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Business Women Connect organizes networking events and other professional opportunities to help the community of professional women in the Indianapolis area grow.

Entrepreneur Mastermind hosts monthly networking events to support entrepreneurs in the Indianapolis area.

The aim of Gold Star Referral Clubs is to allow local business owners and professionals to network with one another and build their businesses.

Through weekly meetings, the Indianapolis Small Business Meetup group aims to support the backbone of the local economy.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

1 Million Cups hosts monthly events in cities around the country in which local entrepreneurs can network with and present their businesses to one another.

Organized by Farm Journal, the Farm Journal AgTech Expo is an annual conference showcasing and promoting the newest advancements in agricultural technology.

The Indana Conference for Women is an annual single-day professional development conference for women from across the state.

Indy Big Data is an annual conference that brings together some of the biggest names in technology development and data handling.


Startup Competitions:

High school students from around the state of Indiana can compete for a chance to win up to $10,000 in college scholarship and seed funding in the Innovate WithIN competition.

The Innovation Showcase is a large pitch event in which entrepreneurs that have qualified through a number of preliminary competitions compete for access to capital.

Students at IUPUI’s Indianapolis and Columbus campuses can compete for coaching and cash prizes in the JagStart Elevator Pitch Competition.


Co-working Spaces:

The Hatch is a co-working space that brings diverse individuals and people together and offers them flexible membership plans.

Located in the Marietta Building, Industrious Office’s Indianapolis location offers co-working space and several options for private office space for individuals and teams.

Launch Indy provides a wide variety of amenities and professional services specifically designed to help support entrepreneurship in Indianapolis.

Novel Coworking, which offers co-working offices in cities around the country, has an Indianapolis location with a variety of amenities available.

The Speak Easy is a co-working space specifically designed to support entrepreneurs through several Indiana locations and several professional services and amenities.


Maker spaces:

Founded in 2012, Cyberia is a makerspace that offers several membership levels and organizes classes and events to help educate members and the community.

RUCKUS offers a wide variety of tools and equipment to its members as well as hosting regular workshops and classes, free of charge.

The University Library at IUPUI includes a 3D printing studio that is available to all students, faculty, and staff of the university.



The Central location of the ISDBC, which helps people create and grow their small businesses, is located at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis hosts a branch of SCORE, a small business development center that organizes programs to support entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce runs several programs supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area.



gBETA, a program run by the major accelerator gener8tor, is a seven-week accelerator program with several locations, including one in Indianapolis.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, TechPoint is an accelerator program that works with promising technology companies from around the state of Indiana.

TechStars, an organization that runs a large number of accelerator programs around the world, is launching a program based in Indianapolis for sport technology startups.



The Andre B. Lacy School of Business at Butler University organizes a program in entrepreneurship & innovation for undergraduate students.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers several programs in entrepreneurship as well as access to a number of resources outside of the classroom.

The University of Indianapolis offers an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship and other opportunities for entrepreneurial students to grow and learn.


Angel Groups/VCs:

With locations in Indianapolis and Cincinnati, OH, Allos Ventures aims to support entrepreneurship and innovation across the Midwest.

One of the most active venture capital firms in the Great Lakes region, Elevate Ventures invests in high-growth businesses across the state of Indiana.

Heron Capital is a private investment firm that either invests in, acquires, or recapitalizes small- and middle-market niche manufacturing and healthcare companies.

In addition to providing venture capital in promising seed-stage companies, High Alpha Capital runs a studio that creates and develops enterprise cloud companies.

Indy MD Angels is an angel group that invests in promising early-stage startups, primarily those located in the Midwest.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Indianapolis Business Journal offers a variety of business-focused newsletters with different topics and delivery frequency.

The business section of the Indianapolis Star, the city’s primary newspaper, offers a newsletter solely for their section.

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s newsletter covers the latest news, updates, and events related to the chamber.

Inside INDiana Business, a website dedicated to covering the state’s business news offers several newsletters to subscribers.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Detroit not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

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Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.