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KEDCO Talent & Entrepreneurship Stories: Manufacturing Readiness Grants support local manufacturers in leveraging the latest technologies

Thursday, April 6, 2023

As a thriving manufacturing hub with the well-known title, Orthopedic Capital of the World®, it’s no surprise that Kosciusko County is home to firms that are using some of the latest technologies. Local employers across industry sectors are leveraging advanced technologies as they compete and move ahead in global markets.

There’s a new program quickly gaining traction across the state that is helping Hoosier businesses make headway by supporting their investments in advanced technologies, which can provide a shot in the arm for local companies investing in smart manufacturing.

The Indiana Manufacturing Readiness Grants program is funded by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)  and administered by Conexus Indiana, as a part of broader state economic development incentives and programs designed to stimulate innovative manufacturing investments that will position Hoosier operations, and the sector overall, for future growth and prosperity. So far, 398 Manufacturing Readiness Grants have been made to businesses across the state, totaling $41M in grant funding. 

What is the Manufacturing Readiness Grant?
Manufacturing Readiness Grants assist manufacturers with plans to make innovative capital investments in smart manufacturing within their Indiana operations. Some ‘smart’ technologies include Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), sensor technology, cobots, additive or 3D manufacturing, big data and analytics, and advanced robotics.

 “The Manufacturing Readiness Grant program is one of the most innovative, impactful tools in the economic development toolbox I have come across,” said KEDCO CEO Alan Tio, “We look forward to helping more K-County companies utilize the grant funding to take the next steps in improving their manufacturing capabilities.”

Funding & Eligibility
Companies can apply for up to $200,000 in grant funds, which require at least a 1:1 match and can involve multiple projects until the recipient reaches the cap.

Projects should directly affect manufacturing processes and focus on investments in commercial-ready equipment through established vendors. Companies with less than 500 employees are heavily favored for the grant program, but there are no size limitations to apply.

Decisions are made on a rolling basis; therefore, applicants may submit applications to the program at any time during the month via the application portal. Applicants may also reach out directly to the Conexus Indiana Team to receive pre-submission coaching and learn more about key application criteria. More information can be found at

Local awardees
Kosciusko County grant recipients thus far include:

Winona Powder Coating, a leader in powder coating and E-coat services, utilized grant funds for a new powder coating system. The company announced the installation of the coating system earlier this year in January. CEO Jamie Visker explained that the system offers quicker color changes and clean-up, reduces the amount of powder used, prevents powder waste, and increases their ability to recycle. Visker also shared that the new powder coating system is more efficient and cuts their powder consumption by around $20,000 a month.

KEDCO has helped connect several local companies to Johnson, who is managing the program.

“Since 2020, the Indiana Manufacturing Readiness Grants Program has supported nearly 400 Smart Manufacturing industry projects across Indiana, with award funding totaling $41M in support of $509M in total technology-enabled capital investments,” said Leighton Johnson, Director of Innovation & Digital Transformation for Conexus Indiana. “We appreciate the opportunity to continue working with local economic development corporations, like the Kosciusko County Economic Development Corporation, to spread the word about the program.”

Program Contact:
Leighton Johnson
Director, Innovation & Digital Transformation – Conexus Indiana

Learn more about Manufacturing Readiness Grants at Stay connected with KEDCO at and on social media (@kosciuskoedc).