This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS — With many uncertainties about the future, Indiana is making sure its small businesses have the tools they need to thrive.

U.S. Census numbers show more than 500,000 small businesses in Indiana. Nationally, numbers show about 31 million, according to the Small Business Administration.

Of those, numbers from the National Federation of Independent Business show many small business owners remain uncertain about future business conditions. Among the many concerns are the ongoing employee shortage and shipping/distribution issues.

It’s something Indiana Small Business Expo CEO Kelly Sparks says she’s seen firsthand, especially in preparing for Thursday’s one-day event.

“My printer, JAM Printing and Promotions, we’ve been a little nervous about ordering the signs, and the decals, and things like that,” she said. “So folks need to understand that production times are longer because of the pandemic. There is an employee shortage for various reasons.”

Sparks says similar issues and topics will be the focus of several workshops and speaker sessions for Thursday’s expo at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. Some of the talking points include leadership, engaging employees and how to prepare for successful holiday sales.

Some speakers include Precious Williams (Shark Tank consultant and best-selling author), Daren Martin (PhD, WSJ and USA Today best-selling author) and Colts Radio Voice Joe Reitz as the keynote.

From 1-7 p.m., Hoosier businesses across the state will meet to network, learn and showcase their services for each other.

“We really should connect with each other so we can gain new ideas, new ways of doing things, maybe there’s something that we don’t know about that our business could benefit from,” Sparks said.

Tickets are $20 online and go to supporting mentorship programs for boys without male role models.