Purdue University leaders have a theory. If Indiana has more entrepreneurs, its economy will be healthier. In the April 3 workshop “Transforming Your Local and Regional Economy” at the Batesville library, Dr. Michael Wilcox, Purdue Extension Economic and Community Development assistant program leader, said Purdue Center for Regional Development officials have three goals: increase the number of entrepreneurs, their survival rate and the number that create jobs and wealth.
Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu, the center’s director, said five regional employees hopefully will be hired by this summer to be resources for start-up owners. Franklin and Rush counties will be in the East District. Ripley, Decatur and Dearborn counties will be in the Southeast District.
Wilcox asked attendee Erik Tuveson, who has worked at Hill-Rom and Hillenbrand Inc., about the entrepreneurial climate here. He answered that as employees get cut, “you see people ... (wondering) ‘How do I create something that is sustainable?’” The presenter said current data shows “folks 55 and above are creating businesses.” Some are restless, others have great ideas or have an enterprise they have “always wanted to do.”
Wilcox reported southeastern Indiana is “weird. I am used to working in regions, especially a more rural community, with 25-30 percent self-employment. With you, it’s 10 percent. You have monster employers and stage 1 and 2 firms,” which employ two to 99.
He admitted, “There are many that are self-employed part time. It might not be their main source of income.”
In Franklin County, with 737 working for themselves, 2013 average salaries ranged from $11,599 for administrative, support, waste management and remediation services jobs to $78,925 for health care and social assistance positions. He pointed out that last category lost 51 percent of jobs, from 59 to 29, from 2007-12. The program leader speculated that left an opening for a home health care business to grow.
In Ripley County, with 909 self-employed, 2013 average salaries ranged from $6,884 for private educational services jobs to $70,568 for health care and social assistance employees.