Ivy Tech alumna earns state award for entrepreneurial success

EDGE Business Award_Risk
Left to right: Troy Phelps, State Director of the Indiana Small Business Development Center; Kelsie Risk; Kristi Risk; Elaine Bedel, Indiana Economic Development Corporation President

Diamond K. Sweets receives E.D.G.E. Award from Indiana Small Business Development Center

Bloomington — Diamond K Sweets, co-owned by Ivy Tech alumna Kelsie Risk, received an Economic Development and Growth Through Entrepreneurship (E.D.G.E.) award in the emerging business category from the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) South Central region in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The awards ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 3 at the Dallara IndyCar factory in Speedway, Ind. Awards were presented by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“It is a huge honor for our business to be selected as a recipient for this award,” said Risk. “I am proud to be a part of Indiana’s entrepreneurial spirit and am appreciative of what Ivy Tech, the SBDC, and the Cook Center have done for us.”

Risk graduated with honors from Ivy Tech Bloomington in 2016 with an Associate of Science in Business Administration. Risk and her mother, Kristi Risk, established Diamond K Sweets and the popular Fudge O’Bits product line in 2013 and began manufacturing in 2015. They secured financing for the company, developed new products, and expanded its distribution channels. Risk is a recipient of the OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc./Bill C. Brown Honorary Scholarship, from the Ivy Tech Foundation.

When Diamond K Sweets was in its early stages, Risk sought consultation from the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and the South Central ISBDC, both hosted by Ivy Tech Bloomington. Steve Bryant, executive director of the Cook Center and director of the South Central ISBDC, advised Risk and her mother.

“The Cook Center has been very influential in getting us the right connections,” said Kelsie. “Steve Bryant’s connection to the community and introducing us to people at Ivy Tech events and connecting us to the SBDC gave us a support system, and the Cook Center helped us with the ins and outs of business.”

“As an emerging business, it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right things,” said Kristi. “Receiving this award helped us know we were on the right path. When we came to the Cook Center we only had a three-page business plan but the Cook Center helped us turn things around. Mentorship was a huge part of it. Because Kelsie has a business degree, she would hear things at the Cook Center and say ‘Oh yeah, I learned that in class!’”

Ivy Tech Bloomington offers an associate degree in business administration and an entrepreneurship technical certificate. Ivy Tech students also have access to services from the ISBDC South Central region and the Cook Center, located at 501 N Profile Parkway. Information about entrepreneurship consulting, classes, and resources can be found online at ivytech.edu/entrepreneurship.


The Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) is hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, helping entrepreneurs launch, grow and locate businesses in the state. The ISBDC provides entrepreneurs with expert guidance and resources on how to start and grow a business. With a network of 10 regional offices through the state, the ISBDC creates a positive and measureable impact on the formation, growth and sustainability of Indiana’s small businesses.

The ISBDC is funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. For more information about the ISBDC, visit http://www.isbdc.org/.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College (ivytech.edu) is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.