The Crusader Newspaper Group

Support for small businesses emerges in Miller Community

By Dezimon Alicea, Gary Crusader

According to a recent article in Forbes, eight out of 10 entrepreneurs that start a small business fail within the first 18 months. That’s a staggering and alarming number. The current White House leadership plans to focus on small business growth and development.

With the recent appointment of Linda McMahon as the head of the Small Business Administration, it seems as though President Trump is taking a different approach to the sector of small businesses. McMahon had this to say regarding the future direction of small businesses under her tenure, “I am honored to join the incredibly impressive economic team that President Trump has assembled to ensure that we promote our country’s small businesses and help them grow and thrive.”

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A BANNER greets guests inside the door to welcome people to the grand opening of a small business incubator called, “The Stage” in February of this year. The small business incubator will provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with access to education and resources to grow successful businesses.

Many would argue that small businesses are the backbone to this country’s economy. Many would also say that without proper guidance a small business will not have the sustainable growth it needs. This question continues to be a thorn for many entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Gary community. To meet this prevalent need, “The Stage,” a Small Business Incubator was established. It is funded by the Gary Miller Spotlight’s Jobs and Economy Action Group, The Miller Business Association and ACCT/ Carmella’s Stage on Shelby.

The idea of an incubation program is not uncommon. Incubation programs have been around since the late 1950’s. Business Incubation programs are often sponsored by private companies or municipal entities and public institutions, such as colleges and universities. Their goal is to help create and grow young businesses by providing them with necessary support and financial and technical services.

The Stage opened its doors in February of this year, and it is the first of its kind in this community. The mission and goal of The Stage is to provide a creative place for education, useful resources and unadulterated synergy to the entrepreneur. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employment firms. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs in the U.S. So, the benefit of small businesses is there. But without the proper guidance and support a small business will either get lost in the shuffle or close its doors altogether.”

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PEOPLE GATHER FOR the grand opening of The Stage, which is a small business incubator in the Miller community.

With the right tools a small business can grow into a global force, over time of course. Before McDonald’s was serving their 99 billion customers, they were a local restaurant in San Bernardino, California. Before Wal-Mart was the one stop shop for all consumer needs, it was a mom and pop store called, Waltons 5&10. These businesses were able to flourish with determination and guidance. The Stage has ways to provide that type of support to local small business owners. Some of those ways include management assistance, marketing support, access to financing, and technical support services. They also provide shared office spaces, light industrial space, networking opportunities, access to equipment and flexible lease terms.

Gretchen Sipp, manager of “The Stage” had this to say, “The hope is that “The Stage” will provide a platform for emerging entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, creatives, and the community as a whole to gain knowledge, build a social foundation, and turn their purpose into profit while building and supporting our city.”

With 493,832 small businesses in Indiana and their contribution to the local economy one can see why the sustainability of small businesses is so vitally important. The state of Indiana is doing what it can to contribute to the overall success of the more than 400,000 small businesses. And, “The Stage” feels as though they are doing their part as well.

“The Stage” is taking a community approach to supporting small businesses. In their search to support small businesses people who may want to donate office equipment, software, or other business related items can contact The Stage Small Business Incubator and Co-working Space at 219-237-4252, or by email [email protected]. And if any entrepreneur or aspiring small business owner wants to know more about the different programs offered, they can contact the phone number and email address listed above.


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