It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. With a Global Entrepreneurship Index of 86.80—a figure that measures the climate a country creates for the development of small businesses—the United States is the top country in the world for entrepreneurs. And there might not be a better state to start a new business in than Indiana.

In 2021, 159 venture capital deals totaling $1.4 billion, were reported in Indiana, the second highest of six Great Lakes states. And earlier this year, the U.S. government announced that Indiana is set to receive up to $99 million in federal funding, $70 million of which will be directed for startups and early-revenue companies. According to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the state is one of the first 14 to be approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury for the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

But it’s not just money that makes Indiana a fertile place for entrepreneurs. Indiana’s secret sauce comes from the depth of resources and the supportive ecosystem available for startups and entrepreneurs—and the ability for all to connect. The state’s economic engine is geared towards innovation with pre-seed, seed, and early-stage funding available through Elevate Ventures, which in addition to having invested $146.9M in nearly 500 startups since 2011, has been the most active VC in the Great Lakes region since 2017 according to PitchBook.

Meanwhile, partnerships with the state’s major universities—Purdue, Notre Dame, and Indiana University—have helped fund new entrepreneurs to build their companies from the ground up, with an emphasis on life sciences, agbioscience, Industry 4.0, and artificial intelligence and big data. Add in a high quality of life with a runway for funding that lasts years versus months, and it’s no surprise the Hoosier State is a formidable player not only in the Midwest but nationwide.

“Our entrepreneurship ecosystem meets entrepreneurs where they are, asking them what barriers they face, removing those barriers, and creating the environment where they can succeed,” says Julie Heath, the IEDC’s vice president of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. “It’s hard to start a company. Indiana has this culture of collaboration, so there’s an impulse toward neighborliness here that overrides what might be competitive or cutthroat.”