New investors join NEIRP to collaborate for economic growth

Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership logo.

Press release from the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

New investors join Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to collaborate for economic growth

(December 15, 2010) – The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP) announced today the launch of its “Grow Big, Grow Home” investment campaign, the campaign that will provide the funding for the next five years of Partnership operation.

The “Grow Big, Grow Home” investment campaign formally began Wednesday morning with a kick-off event at Indiana Tech. The Partnership announced that over 50 investors have committed during the leadership phase.

“The Partnership is a regional organization focused on generating new business leads and promoting growth and collaboration in our regional economic development team,” John Sampson, president and CEO of NEIRP, said. “To be successful, Northeast Indiana must not only market the region to the world, it must ensure it has a competitive product to market. This means that the Partnership focuses on business development and marketing while its supporting foundation, the Northeast Indiana Fund (NIF), supplements those efforts with its capacity building activities that improve the competitive business climate of the region.”

“Grow Big, Grow Home” comes five years after the initial investment campaign that established NEIRP in 2006; the campaign is taking place while the region attempts to overcome the challenge of a declining per capita income. While Northeast Indiana’s per capita income was comparable to the national average 40 years ago, the average Northeast Indiana worker today earns only 80 cents on the dollar when compared to the rest of the nation.

With increased funding, the Partnership will become more targeted in its efforts to build relationships with site selection consultants, launch a national PR campaign and work to further enhance its online presence through the website.

In order to raise the per capita income and make Northeast Indiana a place for future generations to thrive, the NIF, through its work with Vision 2020, will build the capacity of the region so that talent, the business climate, infrastructure, quality of life and the entrepreneurial ecosystem are seen as assets to businesses looking to relocate or expand — giving the Partnership an edge when approaching site selection consultants.

“We need to change the story we tell about ourselves before other people will change the story they tell about us,” Dr. Jo Young Switzer, president of Manchester College and investment campaign co-chair, said. She encouraged the audience to think positively about the region and the assets that are already here. “We are faced with the challenge of not only changing our reality but changing others’ perception of our reality.”

Kirk Ray, CEO of DeKalb Memorial Hospital and NEIRP investor, urged the audience to consider the five years of accomplishments of NEIRP and invest in new and future initiatives. “The Partnership has fostered a wealth of collaboration across the region unlike ever before. Local Economic Development Organizations, government, nonprofit, business and education leaders are all at the same table as a result of the Partnership enabling the region to land projects that build a better future for Northeast Indiana residents,” he said.

“This is your home. Your business. Helping Northeast Indiana ‘grow big’ ultimately helps your bottom line — your business, your property value, your quality of life,” Mike Packnett, president and CEO of Parkview Health and investment campaign co-chair, said. “By investing together, we can leverage our resources and reach our vision. But only if we commit to this together.”

“Grow Big, Grow Home,” will continue into the summer of 2011. More information can be found at


About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership: Created in 2006, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s mission is to market the 10-county region and team with local economic development organizations (LEDOs) to bring new jobs and commercial investment to the area. NEIRP’s global marketing efforts are on behalf of LEDOs in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.

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