Monday, February 27, 2006

Entrepreneurial Huntington

“We are taking an entrepreneurial path to economic development. Our new Venture Works project is a cooperative project of four local groups that hopes to encourage the growth of entrepreneurs in Huntington,” Carol Pugh, head of ED for Huntington County, IN (population 38,124 for county and 17,450 in the town of Huntington) told me as she and Mark Stober of Entira gave me a wonderful tour of the community. “We got a rural development grant with plans to connect with 40 serious inquiries for entrepreneurial help. We’ve been open since September and already have 15 inquiries that have turned into 5 clients and one on the verge of starting a new business.” I was there giving my BoomtownUSA talk and new one on Entrepreneurism as the Paradigm Shift in Economic Development.

Huntington is the hometown of former Vice President Dan Quayle. They’ve set up a museum for all 46 of the Vice Presidents in the USA (5 from Indiana), which brings in visitors from all over the world.

Huntington is blessed to have the Huntington University in the community, one of their partners on the new Venture Works. The University has set up a business incubator and hopes to use it to springboard into new businesses in the town.

The State of IN has a new venture capital tax credit program that allows up to 20% of a venture or angel investment to be written off against state income taxes. It is a trend that I’m seeing increasingly as I travel around the country.

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