Columbus startup and chamber featured in Indiana’s new “entrepreneurial yearbook”

The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, along with a recent Columbus North High School graduate, has been honored in a new publication that highlights the importance of Hoosier entrepreneurship.

Columbus North graduate Trey Nebergall and the chamber have received recognition in Entrepreneurship Indiana 2022, which state officials are calling the inaugural edition of Indiana’s new “entrepreneurial yearbook.” It can be read online at entrepreneurshipindiana.com.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) recently announced the launch of Entrepreneurship Indiana, which includes a website with resources for emerging and established businesses and an annual publication of the same name.

IEDC officials said that Entrepreneurship Indiana 2022 was published in partnership with PATTERN to “honor the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and inspire future founders and innovators.”

It features 100 entrepreneurial success stories from around Indiana, including that of Nebergall, who is studying entrepreneurship and corporate innovation at Ball State University.

Nebergall previously won the local Maverick Challenge competition in 2021 with his pitch for Aspire Group, a business that he started. He later came in second at the regional competition. He also pitched the business at the Innovate WithIN competition, winning at the regional level and advancing to state.

According to Entrepreneurship Indiana 2022, Aspire Group LLC provides full service digital media for the real estate market under the name Aspire Group Media.

Nebergall founded the business in 2020, as he entered his junior year of high school. At the time, he was unable to work at his part-time job due to pandemic shutdowns. However, he saw the possibility of making some money with a drone that he already owned, which led to the launch of Aspire.

Aspire Group Media now has “30 clients with consistent needs.” Altogether, the business is made up of one full-time employee and two part-time contractors. About half of its clients go to Nebergall for services such as professional photography, video, drone and 3D tours. He shoots the content himself, then sends it to two editing and graphic design freelancers that he collaborates with.

Moving forward, Nebergall hopes to sell Aspire Group Media so he can focus on developing his latest venture, Aspire Agent, which will help buyers and sellers connect with agents.

In addition to the profile on Nebergall, Entrepreneurship Indiana 2022 also featured an article titled “The Columbus Way,” which highlights initiatives and resources from the local chamber of commerce.

“You can feel the ‘Columbus Way’ as soon as you walk into the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce,” the publication stated. “The immediate sense of community, connection, and innovation – that is the Columbus Way.”

The article touched on initiatives such as the Velocities partnership with Bloomington and Elevate Ventures, the Columbus Propeller makerspace and other resources that provide support for local entrepreneurs, with the IEDC calling the chamber a “one-stop-shop to access the ecosystem of support resources available to entrepreneurs in Bartholomew County.”

“When I talk about investing directly into Columbus and its entrepreneurial ecosystem, it’s about what we are spending in the city to drive entrepreneurship forward,” said Chamber President Cindy Frey. When she initially stepped into her role, annual spending to support entrepreneurship was under $50,000; it is now almost $150,000.

According to the IEDC, the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has a major impact on its economy and communities. Indiana’s youngest companies — those under five years of age — account for most of the state’s net new job growth and created over 36,000 new jobs in 2019 alone. Furthermore, Hoosier companies under five years of age contributed an estimated $11.5 billion to Indiana’s GDP in 2021.

“At the local level, one successful new company increases the median household income of surrounding households, driving community wellbeing,” said IEDC officials.

The Entrepreneurship Indiana website can be accessed at portal.entrepreneurshipindiana.com. It is currently being beta tested with help from organizations that support Indiana’s entrepreneurs. It is the “first of its kind” statewide listing of resources, programs and services for entrepreneurs.