With just over a million people, Indianapolis, the number-one Central city, can best be described as a big little town. While its compact size promotes a sense of community, it's still large enough to provide the basis for an increasingly diverse economy that includes everything from high-tech and telecommunications businesses to agribusiness and steel production.
Indianapolis' central location also works in its favor. More than 65 percent of the U.S. population lives within a 700-mile radius of the city, and the profusion of interstate highways that intersect within it makes this city a very attractive transportation hub or base of operations.
An astoundingly low unemployment rate (2.3 percent in May) makes it hard for employers to find and keep qualified workers, and may eventually limit the city's growth. Still, Indianapolis is attempting to help everyone benefit from the strong economy. The Indiana Small Business Development Corp. brings together minority-owned businesses and large corporations seeking suppliers.
Minority businesses also receive support from the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corp., a group of local banks, lending institutions and nonprofit organizations.
But success certainly hasn't caught Indianapolis resting on its laurels. Some 15,500 hotel rooms have been built to accommodate future visitors to the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome downtown, and Mayor Stephen Goldsmith has formed a High Tech Taskforce to determine ways to bring more technology companies into the city.