Incubating business

Campus and community organizations help cultivate a growing culture of entrepreneurism in the Wabash Valley.

When Daniel Pigg gives business advice to Vigo County startups and nonprofits, he’s not just sharing theories or ideas he picked up from a textbook — he’s speaking from experience. 

Pigg, who serves as the director of Indiana State’s Business Engagement Center, is also a serial entrepreneur, with successful business ventures of his own ranging from real estate to wine. 

At the Business Engagement Center, Pigg and his team work with local entrepreneurs as well as established companies and nonprofits to help them develop and grow. The center, which consults with 50 to 60 companies and nonprofits each year, offers most of these valuable business development services free of charge.

Pigg brings a unique perspective to the table during those discussions. As a freshman at Indiana State in the 1990s, he got his first taste of entrepreneurship when he started buying properties near campus and renting them out to fellow students. That real estate business has since grown to include multi-tenant properties, development land and other investments across the country.

Daniel Pigg and his wife, Sarah, GR ’07, own the popular Sycamore Winery in Terre Haute.

Pigg and his wife, Sarah, GR ’07, also recently launched the popular Sycamore Winery, a combination winery, brewery and event venue located on 60 acres north of Terre Haute. Their newest venture, which  opened to the public in July 2017, has already been so well-received that the Piggs want to build lodging on the property.

Although the entrepreneurship bug bit Pigg many years ago, he’s convinced more and more people have gotten hooked on the idea of working for themselves in recent years. Pigg says the trend toward entrepreneurship can be explained, in part, by the changing nature of work itself — these days you can work from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Plus, modern professionals are seeking out a better work-life balance than past generations, he says. Beyond that, many people are realizing that they can start out slow with a side gig that supplements their regular 9-to-5 job before fully taking the plunge with their own business.

But, he cautions, being an entrepreneur is not always as dreamy as it sounds. Most days, it’s extremely challenging, although it can ultimately be rewarding.

“Starting and owning a business is great in theory, but there are days when you will work twice as hard and twice as long as someone punching a time clock. You have to put in the work to make it successful, because at the end of the day it all falls back on you,” he said. “That’s the reality of being an entrepreneur.”  


Small Business Development Center 

The Small Business Development Center provides entrepreneurial assessment, free one-on-one counseling, small business development products, pre-business and business planning workshops for those individuals who want general information on starting a business or who are in the initial start-up phase. The SBDC also helps existing small business owners sustain, grow or exit their business. 

The SBDC is located in Federal Hall room 110. 

Business Engagement Center

The Business Engagement Center actively works with entrepreneurial start-up businesses as well as existing business owners who are in need of development support. They utilize their vast network of campus and community resources to provide entrepreneurs with the guidance and expertise that they need to become more successful.

The BEC also offers businesses start-up grants, office and lab spaces, incubation services, business planning services and workshops. Along with a one-stop shop where students, faculty and community members can create ideas, experiment with prototypes, discuss and develop business models, engage in hands-on learning in a “free think” atmosphere, brainstorm, enhance current models and create new ventures.

The BEC is located in John T. Myers Technology Center on the lower-level room 003. 

Launch Terre Haute

Launch Terre Haute is a collaborative workspace open to freelance workers, independent contractors, entrepreneurs and startup companies.

Its mission is two-fold: to create a collaborative environment of talented individuals and provide them with a place to work and put their minds together, plus connect those individuals to its established network of resources, ultimately helping root and grow business within the community.

Launch is located on the corner of Sixth and Cherry streets. 

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