Indiana Launches $500M Quality Of Place, Talent Attraction Initiative

The Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) encourages communities to create shared visions and strategies to accelerate economic resilience, long-term growth.

Earlier this week, Indiana launched the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), which will dedicate $500 million in state appropriations to promote strategic investments to make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth.

Governor Eric J. Holcomb first announced the concept of READI in his January State of the State address, and the Indiana General Assembly funded the program as a part of its new biennial budget. READI is expected to attract at least $2 billion of local public, private and philanthropic match funding that will propel investment in the state’s quality of place, quality of life, and quality of opportunity.

Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI)
(Source: Getty Images)

“Indiana is uniquely positioned to make transformational investments in our communities that will catalyze economic and population growth for years to come,” said Gov. Holcomb. “READI will lead the nation in encouraging regional collaboration, and it will equip Indiana regions with the tools and resources needed to implement strategic investments in quality of place and innovation, creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our state for residents and for future generations of Hoosiers.”

Through this initiative, the state will encourage neighboring counties, cities and towns to partner to create a shared vision for their future, mapping out the programs, initiatives and projects that are critical for them to retain talent today and attract the workforce of tomorrow. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) will award up to $50 million per region to support the implementation of strategies focused on making positive developments in quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction and development.

To participate and seek funding through READI, Indiana communities will collaborate to define their regions and create regional development plans that show how the region will be transformed from its current state to one that leverages unique opportunities and removes barriers to growth to propel its future. Regional investments are expected to attract a 4:1 match of local public and private funding and may include strategies focused on physical projects, such as infrastructure, workforce housing developments, the revitalization of blighted or vacant properties, and cultural amenities, as well as sustainable, multi-year programs, such as talent attraction initiatives, public-private partnerships to advance innovation in industry, and small business support services.

Central Indiana Attracts Growing Tech Software, Professional Services Companies

Kennected plans to expand its operations in Indianapolis and has committed to creating up to 405 new jobs by the end of 2025. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company has already hired 50 workers toward that goal.

“We are passionate about our Indianapolis roots and the tech community that belongs to the city,” said Cody Harvey, Kennected chief strategy officer. “We have looked up to the successful entrepreneurs and business leaders here for so many years. We have been inspired by the impact entrepreneurs bring to our communities. We want to step up and do our part bringing growth to the city.”

The company, which celebrated the opening of its Indianapolis headquarters last year, plans to invest more than $2 million in its operations to innovate the lead generation space with ‘K-Suite,’ a new integrated suite of lead generation software. The company is releasing four world-class software products over the next six months. The K-suite is modeled after Google Workplace (formerly G-Suite), a fully integrated suite of team collaboration tools. The company is evaluating options for a second location south of downtown Indianapolis to accommodate its growing team.

“With Indiana’s best in the Midwest ranking for entrepreneur friendliness, we’re committed to providing the business-friendly environment and skilled workforce that companies like Kennected need to thrive,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Indiana’s reputation as a tech hub continues to grow thanks to companies like Kennected choosing to invest and grow in Indiana.”

Kennected was recently nominated for TechPoint’s 2021 annual Mira Awards program as Startup of the Year for demonstrating the creative, strategic and innovative entrepreneurial spirit of Indiana’s technology industry. The Mira Awards is the state’s largest and longest-running technology excellence and innovation recognition program, and the annual gala celebrates the “The Best of Tech in Indiana.”

IEDC offered Master Your Network, LLC (dba Kennected) up to $4.25 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. The company will be eligible to claim these incentives once employees are hired. The city of Indianapolis supports the project in partnership with Develop Indy.

Meanwhile, Milestone Business Solutions Inc., a professional services firm, also plans to expand operations in central Indiana. The company has committed to creating up to 53 new jobs by the end of 2025 and has already hired 13 toward that goal.

“Home to a thriving startup ecosystem, central Indiana is the perfect place for companies like Milestone to grow operations while providing critical services to support other growing businesses,” said Interim Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Staton. “It’s exciting to see the company linking businesses with talent while also creating more job opportunities for Hoosiers.”

Founded in June 2020, Milestone provides outsourced accounting and human resources services to startup and scale-up companies. The company is looking to add staff accountants, controllers and chief financial officers as well as human resources specialists, managers and directors to its growing team.

“We have a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurial companies in Indiana, as well as access to top talent,” said Tom Gabbert, founder & CEO of Milestone Business Solutions. “Over the years, I have experienced firsthand how companies across the country are drawn to the work ethic and positive attitude of Hoosiers. I believe we can build a largely Indiana-based team with a national focus and operate with a competitive advantage.”

Milestone, which is based out of Indiana and has operated remotely since inception, will invest $171,500 to establish and equip a new central Indiana location, allowing Milestone to build a Midwest team to support its growing national customer base. The company plans to continue remote work through 2021 and will begin exploring central Indiana location options in 2022. Once the location is established, team members will have the flexibility to work remotely while having access to training and collaboration facilities.

Indiana is home to more than 512,000 small businesses like Milestone that employ over 1.2 million. The state received an ‘A+’ grade for ease of starting a business (Thumbtack 2019) and ranks No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 6 in the nation for entrepreneur friendliness (SBE Council 2019).

IEDC offered Milestone Business Solutions Inc. up to $800,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans.

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