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Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2003

IU Kelley School center recognizes Indiana's top entrepreneurial firms

Growth 100 companies see strong sales, new job creation

EDITORS: A list of this year's Growth 100 winners is available at or at the Johnson Center Web site at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a year that has seen Indiana lose thousands of manufacturing jobs, a significant number of entrepreneurs have quietly met financial challenges and created new employment.

The Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a center in Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, will recognize 86 of these firms with its Growth 100 Award today (Nov. 19). The awards, which have been presented for a decade, honor high-potential, high-growth companies in Indiana that meet the center's strict criteria.

The Growth 100 Awards will be presented at a banquet beginning at 5 p.m. at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. Joining the Johnson Center in recognizing these firms are the Indiana Venture Center and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

"Although the economy across the state has been very challenging this past year, we have an impressive 86 companies that not only weathered the challenges, but were able to grow at an overall average of 30.5 percent," said Elizabeth J. Gatewood, director of the Johnson Center and the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship. "These entrepreneurial companies have a strong impact on the state, not only financially, but also through employment. Over the past year, these companies increased their full-time employees by an average of 25 percent."

The award honors Indiana's fastest-growing entrepreneurial companies. "We recognize these companies because they represent the entrepreneurial spirit of Indiana business," Gatewood said. "This award validates all their hard work. It says to them, their employees and their customers that they are doing things the right way."

While 44 of the firms in this year's list are service companies, a growing number are in technology and manufacturing operations, a total of 31 firms. Six of the companies are in the retail sector and another five are in construction or other areas.

"The growth rate in the technology field is up slightly this year," Gatewood said. "We expect to see continued growth in this area as the state actively works to establish itself as a technology and life science industry leader."

Growth 100 firms, by the numbers:

-- Of the 86 businesses, 31 are family-owned and five are minority-owned. Women own six of the companies.

-- Full-time employees at Growth 100 companies total 10,556, an increase of 4,640 over two years ago. The average number of full-time employees has risen from 69 two years ago to 124 this year.

-- Total sales of the companies is $1.38 billion, up from $725,193,345 two years ago. Growth 100 companies have projected total 2003 sales of $1.66 billion. Average sales for all companies is $16.8 million this year and is projected at $21.1 million for 2003.

-- Thirty-five of the Growth 100 companies did not exist before 1995. More than a third of them, or 33 companies, are first-time winners. Only two companies, Harlan Bakeries and Pac-Van, have been Growth 100 companies every year since 1997.

-- While Growth 100 companies can be found all around the state, more than a third, or 36 companies, are located in Indianapolis.

A few notable examples:

-- C.J. Boots Casket Co. of Anderson in four years has found a successful niche in the manufacturing and distribution of customized wood caskets. Boots learned of the demand for his product after taking over the job of building wood caskets for members of his German Baptist Church. He sees Indiana-based Batesville Casket Co. as his primary competition.

-- Crane-based Raydar & Associates Inc. has grown from being a single-employee consultancy to a 32-person operation in under six years. Raydar engineered the Navy/Marine Corps' EA-6B electronic maintenance complexes at Sembach, Germany, and Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. Several team members are on call for emergency travel to aircraft carriers to perform maintenance.

-- Endocyte Inc. of West Lafayette has developed and patented a new drug-delivery system that tags anti-cancer drugs to vitamins, which are then targeted and delivered into cancer cells while avoiding normal, healthy cells. Located in the Purdue University Research Park, the company has received about $21 million through corporate partnerships and government grants.

-- Bloomington-based Option Six provides custom Web-based training development for large corporations including 3M, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Labs.

-- Tri Star Engineering Inc. of Bedford was founded in 1995 to provide engineering and technical services to government and commercial entities. The business, which is minority- and female-owned, specializes in providing services to small, disadvantaged businesses.

More information:

For more information on the Growth 100 Awards program and the Johnson Center, visit the center's Web site at Individuals who wish to nominate their own or another company for consideration for next year's Growth 100 Awards should contact the Johnson Center at 812-855-4248.