When officials from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) packed up for Las Vegas earlier this month, no one was thinking about slot machines or blackjack tables. They had bigger stakes in mind.

“CES bills itself as the most influential tech event in the world, and we agree,” said Dave Roberts, the IEDC’s Chief Innovation Officer. “Vegas can be a disorienting venue, but our team was disciplined and focused on the tasks at hand. As we aggressively pursue the economy of the future that we want for Indiana, it’s only right that we were in the midst of an amazing array of tech companies showcasing their latest innovations. In the super competitive, global bid for tech talent, we have to be strategic and we have to be present if we expect to win. Going to CES is just one example of how we’re going to do that.”

Indiana’s attendance at the globally significant conference was designed to both support and use the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) event. The IAC, organized by CICP initiative Energy Systems Network, is the world’s first head-to-head autonomous race car passing competition, and it is a perfect showcase of Hoosier ingenuity, innovation and investment in a tech-driven future economy. The IAC debuted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2021 and IAC university teams advanced their technology to compete in the Autonomous Challenge @ CES on January 7, 2022, which became one of the most talked about parts of CES 2022.

Paul Mitchell, President and CEO of Energy Systems Network, said it felt like Indiana was everywhere at the huge consumer electronics convention.

“We did dozens of interviews with national media,” he said. “It was a wonderful showcase for the state, and we were very happy to demonstrate that Indiana isn’t just keeping pace with technology: we’re leading it.”

Roberts said the trip was scheduled much like trade missions the state takes on trips overseas to entice foreign companies to expand to Indiana.

“Everyone was interested in the race,” he said. “We made some important headway.”

How Indiana is pressing the gas on tech expansion

The CES trip isn’t the first example of how the state and CICP are pressing the gas on economic development efforts. In 2019, TechPoint began helping the IEDC find and encourage tech companies to expand or relocate to Indiana. CICP initiatives AgriNovus, Energy Systems Network, Conexus and Biocrossroads working with the state, focusing on agbiosciences, advanced energy technology and transportation, advanced manufacturing and logistics and the life sciences sectors.

TechPoint’s efforts have resulted in companies relocating or growing in Indiana like Bay Area-based Celigo, New York based Wunderkind, Paxafe, Montana-based Atrium, Bay Area Entelo, Chicago based ActiveCampaign and Folio

Last year, TechPoint met with more than 140 U.S. and international tech company leaders with a goal of securing moves or expansions from six companies by the end of 2021. Seven companies that TechPoint worked with chose to move or expand in Indiana. That builds on 2020 activity, which included meetings with more than 90 U.S. tech company leaders with a goal of securing moves from 15 companies by the end of 2020. Seven of those companies moved or expanded to Indiana and eight were in negotiations to do so at the end of 2020.

With Indiana coming off record years of investment and growth throughout the state, expect IEDC Secretary Brad Chambers to keep pressure on the accelerator in 2022.

At an Indianapolis Business Journal event in December, Chambers presented his game plan for Indiana and rolled out the 5 E’s that include Environment, Economy of the Future, Entrepreneurship, Energy and External Engagement.

“Our goal is to become a nationally recognized landing pad for entrepreneurs and, as a result, increase new business formation,” Chambers said at that event, where he pledged a focus on “telling the Indiana story.”

“All good businesses need a marketing regimen, and we are a great business. We need to tell our story. We need to stick our chest out more and tell our story,” he said.

TechPoint is pleased to be working closely with Chambers  and his team on those external engagement efforts and stands ready to tell the Indiana story nationally and internationally, as opportunities arise.

CES was just the first example of how TechPoint and IEDC are in it to win the race for high tech in 2022 and beyond. Buckle up!