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KEDCO Talent & Entrepreneurship Stories: Kosciusko County is an ideal place for people to grow personally and professionally

Thursday, January 5, 2023

By: Katie Dewitt, KEDCO Marketing & Communications Manager

As home to the Orthopedic Capital of the World®, global-leading agribusinesses, and a booming recreation sector, Kosciusko County is a prime place for business opportunities. With ample educational and training offerings, support for launching or expanding a business, and a range of career options to land your dream job, our community has much to offer. But it’s not only a place to start and grow professionally, it’s a robust community of people and services to support you on your personal journey, and create a sense of belonging and fulfillment.

A community to connect you  

Whether you’re new to the community or you’ve lived here for decades, there are a number of ways to pursue personal and professional interests and find your tribe of people to support you.

“Our community has a variety of affinity and social groups, hobbyist and recreational groups, faith communities, and volunteer opportunities,” said Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) CEO Alan Tio. “As my family and I have come to appreciate since moving here a few years ago, there are so many organizations and people in this community who can help you find your way.”

A great place to start is by connecting with local community organizations such as: KEDCO, Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Kosciusko County Convention & Visitors Bureau (KCCVB), and local chambers of commerce throughout the county. These organizations can provide information about business and leadership opportunities, philanthropy, local events and quality of life related amenities.

“My involvement in YAP (Young Adult Professionals) has really helped me understand the full picture of the impact our company has on our community, and how I can learn from other leaders in the community. It also provides opportunities to work with other local businesses to collaborate on events and give back to our community together,” said Olivia Tucker, Brand Marketing Manager at Maple Leaf Farms.

YAP is a program of the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce that provides opportunities for young people in the community, and focuses on three key areas: leadership, networking and philanthropy. Learn more at www.kchamber.com.

A connected workforce

Along with community programming and organizations, some local employers offer development opportunities within the workplace. Whether it’s an internal program or employer-supported development opportunities, such as sending team members through Kosciusko Leadership Academy (KLA).

Zimmer Biomet Young Professionals Network has been a great way for Zimmer Biomet team members to build meaningful relationships through socialization and well-being events, professional development opportunities and giving back to our local communities,” said Josh Miller, Program Manager in Global Reconstruction at Zimmer Biomet. “I recommend that young professionals looking to give back to the community simply find what they’re passionate about and reach out to get involved.”

Live Well Kosciusko, a local nonprofit that promotes the health and well-being of all residents in Kosciusko County, recently developed an initiative specifically focused on career and purpose well-being. The initiative includes programs such as coaching and mentoring, and an employer wellness coalition.

“Based on the Gallup well-being survey we distributed, 63% of respondents indicated they were struggling or suffering in some area related to their career and purpose,” said Live Well Kosciusko CEO Lisa Harman.

Some career and purpose survey questions included:

  • Is there a leader in your life who makes you enthusiastic about your future?
  • Do you like what you do every day?
  • Do you learn or do something interesting every day?

With that data, the Career + Purpose Well-Being Committee developed a free county-wide mentor program called “Clock Into Potential” with the goal of helping participants gain a better understanding of themselves and their passions, and identifying growth areas while working alongside a mentor.

“It has been incredibly exciting to see the first cohort complete the program and reflect on the positive changes they’ve been able to make in a short period of time,” said Harman. “We had a retiree who discovered a passion for theatre, a barista who moved into a store management position, an entrepreneur who opened a clothing boutique, and much more! We encourage people who are interested to apply now to be considered for the Spring 2023 session. Learn more and apply here: livewellkosciusko.org/clock-into-potential.

A connected entrepreneurial community

As home to many successful entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators, Kosciusko County is an ideal place to plant roots personally and professionally, and that includes starting and growing your own business.

KEDCO offers resources and helps connect entrepreneurs at every stage of business. “Whether you’re just starting with an idea and seeking one-on-one coaching, or seeking support for expanding or growing your current business, we can help,” said Tio. “We are focusing our efforts in 2023 on technology-enabled businesses and encouraging startup activity in our downtown areas.”

Syracuse-based entrepreneur, Anna Haldewang of InsightTRAC, first started her entrepreneurial journey in college. Her initial idea of developing a pollinating drone continued to evolve with research and testing. Today, Haldewang is the Founder and CEO of InsightTRAC, a precision robotics company that leverages cloud-based data to help almond growers.

Haldewang was able to lean on local leaders in the agriculture industry for insight, and connected with entrepreneur support organizations such as Purdue Foundry and the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC). She also helped facilitate monthly meetups for local entrepreneurs created by KEDCO, and she continues to encourage and support other local entrepreneurs. 

For someone just starting a business Haldewang said, “Start interviewing your target market straight away! This doesn’t require any cost and helps solidify your business before taking the leap. KEDCO and local community members can help create the interview questions. Interview as many people as possible and be open to their answers. It could lead to a completely different idea than planned!” 

Learn more about InsightTRAC at www.insighttrac.com. And learn more about Haldewang and her entrepreneurial story by tuning in to Episode 17 of the Clearly Kosciusko podcast.

Find more information about quality of life amenities and upcoming events with KEDCO visit www.kosciuskoedc.com. Stay connected with KEDCO via Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin @kosciuskoedc.com.

Local entrepreneurs connect at a KEDCO + Fortitude Fund Entrepreneur Social meetup.