Flagship Enterprise Center promotes small business growth (Henry County)

A public-private partnership designed to assist small businesses has caught the attention of local economic development leaders.

Dirk Webb, operations manager at Flagship Enterprise Center in Anderson, recently shared information with the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors about FEC including its regional approach to fostering small business growth in a multi-county region that includes Henry County.

FEC is a regional business incubator and advanced stage business center supported by the City of Anderson, Anderson University, Purdue University, IVY Tech Community College, the Small Business Administration, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) and others.

It also serves as the leading Small Business Administration micro-lender in the state of Indiana. Webb said 81 percent of the micro-loans made to small businesses in the Hoosier state originate with Flagship Enterprise Center.

“We are an authorized lender in Henry County. We’re able to work with small businesses who maybe have had some difficulties getting off the ground because of funding and we can work with local banks to address that,” Webb said. “We work with the banks in some cases to make a loan and then work with our technical assistance grants to give our clients needed coaching and help along the way.”

The ultimate goal is to make their clients “bankable” again after their loan with FEC has been satisfied, Webb added.

Flagship Enterprise Center offers tools the local EDC office currently doesn’t have, according to EDC board of directors chairman Jon Madison.

“We have our own enterprise loan fund, but some of the other services Flagship can offer. I think we certainly need to discuss partnering with them to see what opportunities we can bring to Henry County,” Madison said.

Persons considering starting a small business or those already in business in need of some working capital are encouraged to contact the local EDC office at (765) 521-7402 for information about its enterprise loan fund. The EDC office is located at 100 S. Main St., Suite 203, New Castle. When needed, referrals to Flagship Enterprise Center are made.