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World Trade Center-Indianapolis has signed an agreement this week with a partner in a key international region. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Indy organization and the World Trade Center-Harbin, China will involve commercial exchanges and regular meetings that could lead to future partnerships. During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, President Doris Anne Sadler discussed the next steps for the eight-month-old organization, which include continued work to lock down a physical location.

Sweetwater, Purdue partner on music tech: Officials from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Sweetwater announced Wednesday a partnership that will bring the majority of the music technology program at the soon-to-be Purdue University Fort Wayne to the Sweetwater campus. The company says it will transform an 8,000-square-foot facility into a learning center that will support proposed new majors including music industry and popular music. Sweetwater President Chuck Surack says he has a personal and moral responsibility to give back to the community. IPFW Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer said the partnership is a "win-win."

Three Indiana Sam's Club stores to close: Walmart has detailed plans to close three Sam's Club stores in Indiana, affecting nearly 420 workers. The announcement of the closures, which include two stores in Indianapolis and one in Goshen, came the same day the company announced plans to increase the starting wage for hourly employees and expand certain benefits.

South Bend ethanol facility acquired: An ethanol production company in South Bend is under new ownership. Mercuria Investments US Inc. has acquired Noble Americas South Bend Ethanol LLC. Mercuria has renamed its newly acquired company South Bend Ethanol LLC and plans to invest up to $30 million to improve efficiency and reliability at the facility, as well as expand production capacity.

Indiana bank near top of 'America's Best Banks': Two banks headquartered in Indiana are part of a list of the country's top banks. America's Best Banks 2018 from Forbes ranks the 100 largest U.S. banks based on 10 metrics that the publication says relate to growth, profitability, capital adequacy and asset quality. Muncie-based First Merchants Corp. is fourth on the list and Evansville's Old National Bancorp is 76th. First Financial Bancorp, the Cincinnati-based bank in the late-stages of a $1 billion acquisition of Greensburg's MainSource Financial Group Inc., ranks 37th. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, First Merchants Chief Executive Officer Michael Rechin said he's flattered, "but not necessarily surprised" by the high ranking.

Venture capital investment rises in 2017: A new report shows venture capital investment in Indiana jumped in 2017. The PricewaterhouseCoopers/CB Insights MoneyTree annual report shows venture capital firms invested more than $122 million in 35 deals last year, compared to $81.7 million in 37 deals in 2016. This weekend on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Allos Ventures co-founder and Managing Director Don Aquilano will talk about what he calls a potential crisis because of a lack of early-stage capital in the state.

Name selected for Purdue's online university: Purdue University has announced the official name for its new, online public university. Purdue University Global is the institution resulting from Purdue's acquisition last year of Kaplan University. The deal is set for its final approval hearing Feb. 22 with the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation organization.

Final found of Carrier layoffs: The final round of previously-announced layoffs at Carrier Corp.'s Indianapolis operations took place this week. More than 200 employees are part of the company's fan coil production operation, which is being relocated to Mexico.

ClusterTruck plans aggressive 2018: A rapidly-growing food delivery service has no plans to slow down in 2018. Indianapolis-based ClusterTruck founder Chris Baggott says he hopes to expand to 20 markets this year. In addition to growing in Indianapolis, the company has recently entered the Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, Kansas City and Denver markets. Baggott says the biggest challenge for the company is finding the right location in each market to be able to meet its delivery goals. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Baggott said there is plenty of room for growth in the "many, many billion-dollar market."

New Brownsburg hospital debuts: The $48 million Hendricks Regional Health Brownsburg Hospital is officially open. The healthcare provider says the 100,000 square-foot center houses the county's first side-by-side emergency department and immediate care center.

Anderson University to sell radio station: Anderson University is looking to offload its campus radio station. The university says it is in discussions with potential buyers for 98.7 The Song, which first came on the air in 1990.

Lilly Endowment boosts nonprofits to the tune of $80M: Ten central Indiana nonprofits will share in $80 million in grants from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. The recipients, including Bosma Enterprises Inc., Tangram Inc. and Children's Bureau Inc., work with Hoosiers with disabilities or are focused on helping vulnerable children or youths. Grant totals, which range from $2.5 million to $10 million, will allow organizations to establish their own endowment or boost an existing one.

Big military diesel engine contract goes to Cummins: Columbus-based Cummins Inc. has secured a more than quarter-billion dollar U.S. Department of Defense contract. The deal involves new and remanufactured engines for the U.S. Army. The DOD says locations of where the work will be performed will be determined with each order.

Oprah to spotlight The Cake Bake Shop: A popular bakery and cafe in Indianapolis is getting some powerful publicity. The Cake Bake Shop says it has been chosen to be on Oprah Winfrey's "O List" in next month's issue of O: The Oprah Magazine.

New flights at Indy airport follow 'banner year': Two new, nonstop flights from Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. mean Indianapolis International Airport will have more nonstops than ever before. Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez says the service to Charleston, South Carolina and Sarasota, Florida is an outgrowth of a $40 million investment announced in August by the low-cost carrier. Both flights are new to the market. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Rodriguez says the nonstop connectivity — which now totals 51 routes — and its increasing number of international flight options make IND stand out among its peers.

Cocktail maker plans Indiana relocation, growth: An Oregon-based pre-mixed cocktail and spirit producer says it will invest $9 million into relocating its headquarters and manufacturing operations to Indianapolis. The move, Blue Marble Cocktails and Spirits says, could create more than 50 jobs by the end of the year.

Acquisition of Indiana racinos parent moves forward: Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Centaur Holdings in Indianapolis has cleared another hurdle. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has granted an early termination of the waiting period for the $1.7 billion deal for Centaur, which owns Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson and the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville.

Arcamed enters the 'Warsaw of Tennessee': An Indianapolis-based medical case and tray manufacturer is expanding its orthopedic industry footprint. Arcamed Inc. has acquired Memphis-based Veracity Medical Solutions. Chief Executive Officer Jon Desalvo says the deal gets the Hoosier company into the market he calls the "Warsaw of Tennessee," making reference to the Kosciusko County and southern cities' global strength in orthopedics manufacturing. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Desalvo says the acquisition is two years in the making.

Private development on Purdue campus to start soon: Purdue University says construction on the first piece of the $1 billion Discovery Park District will begin this month. The $86 million, 835-bed Aspire at Discovery Park is a privately-developed apartment complex on the west side of the campus.

Speaker tech company earns key funding: An electronics company founded by four University of Notre Dame students has landed an Elevate Ventures High Potential Startup Grant. RESONADO, which is developing new speaker technology that the company says is higher-quality and more cost-efficient than current models, is based at Notre Dame's IDEA Center.

Racing component company moving to Franklin: A Bartholomew County-based racing component manufacturer has announced plans to relocate to Franklin. The city says Rapid Prototype and Axis Industries plans to invest $1.6 million to locate in the Franklin Business Park and add a small number of jobs.

Patrick touts strong year for acquisitions: Elkhart-based Patrick Industries Inc. is reporting a jump in acquisitions. In its annual investor presentation, the recreational vehicle manufacturer says it acquired 13 companies in 2017 for a total of nearly $249 million, compared to $139 million for eight companies the previous year.

Fort Wayne hotel incentives nearing approval: Plans for a hotel in downtown Fort Wayne are moving forward. The Fort Wayne Common Council has given preliminary approval of tax incentives for the nearly $18 million Hampton Inn & Suites, with final approval possibly coming by the end of the month.

Indy Eleven joins United Soccer League: Indianapolis' professional soccer team will begin playing against a new set of opponents later this year. The United Soccer League announced yesterday the addition of the Indy Eleven for the 2018 season.

Radius Indiana plans first international trip: Radius Indiana has named new board members and approved a 2018 budget. The southwest central Indiana economic development organization says its plans this year include increased marketing and a trade mission to Japan. Radius Indiana Chief Executive Officer Jeff Quyle tells Inside INdiana Business the organization will tout the region's "new collaborative spirit" and increased connectivity from the extended I-69. Quyle believes southwest central Indiana is positioned to market itself more globally and domestically, which it hasn't always done.

Tech company growing in Indy: An Indianapolis-based tech startup has announced expansion plans. Costello, which provides a deal management software platform for sales teams, will add to its current space inside The Union 525 in downtown Indy and add 65 jobs by 2021.

High-profile hotel to be called The Carmichael: The city of Carmel has announced the name of the first hotel to be developed in the City Center district. Plans for The Carmichael, which honors both the city and the Grammy-nominated artistic director of the Center for Performing Arts Michael Feinstein, include more than 120 rooms, a supper club operated by Feinstein and a ballroom.

Batesville hotel added to 'historic' list: A 166-year-old hotel in Batesville has received a major honor. The Sherman, which reopened last spring, is one of 20 hotels throughout the country to be inducted into the Historic Hotels of America for 2017.