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Editorial: Communities benefit by supporting entrepreneurs

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The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the Columbus area, which has resulted in innovative ideas that are having impacts within the city and beyond its borders.

Fortunately, programs are in place to help foster and support new business ideas well into the future.

The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce recently honored local entrepreneurs with its inaugural Venture Awards, a platform to showcase local businesses that are doing things in new and better ways.

For example, Cybermetrix received the Innovation Award for its new climate center on Mapleton Street, which utilizes two cold chambers. The company simulates, models, designs and tests state-of-the-art engines and power systems under extreme conditions.

Earlier this year the Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center hosted the Risk It: Indiana competition, which provided a creative way for entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and receive important feedback that could help them develop their concepts.

Dawn Andrews, a Columbus resident, benefited from that experience. Her garb2Art cosmetic company, which sells products made by Andrews that she packages in recyclable products, won first place and the audience choice award. Andrews won prizes valued at $2,500, including sessions with an accountant, a patent attorney and a website designer.

Another recent example of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit was demonstrated by Susan Sheets, who published a 3- by 5-inch pocket guide to help operating room technicians during surgical procedures. These technicians must prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment and assist during procedures — including keeping track of more than 500 tools that could be used during a single surgery.

Sheets, chairwoman of the surgical technology and imaging science department at Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus, recognized that no comprehensive study guide existed for students or practicing professionals. So she created one. It’s now required for surgical technology and nursing students across all Ivy Tech campuses and is being sold to students nationwide through several national retailers.

Businesses and individuals who bravely pursue an idea — often with financial risks — do so because they believe it is innovative, beneficial and can succeed in the marketplace.

When an idea clicks, the innovators enjoy the rewards, and rightly so. But the community also benefits.

The encouragement and support systems being developed in Columbus foster that entrepreneurial spirit. As a result, we’re all better off.

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