Updated: 1/29/2013 7:29:13 AM

Bloomington to Create Entrepreneurship Action Plan

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The city of Bloomington has formed a partnership designed to link entrepreneurs and small businesses to service-providing organizations. The Bloomington Economic Development Corp. and the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech-Bloomington are also involved in the effort.

Funding for the initiative has come in part from a recent Community Impact Funding Grant from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.

January 28, 2013

News Release

Bloomington, Ind. — The City of Bloomington, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), and the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech-Bloomington, have launched a joint effort to develop an entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem action plan for Bloomington and Monroe County.

The effort will convene leaders of several local organizations that provide services to startups and small businesses to review current programs and services, identify possible new programs and services based on best practices in other communities, and develop recommendations for the community.

“Entrepreneurship is not new to Bloomington,” said Mayor Mark Kruzan. “But entrepreneurs have new ideas every day that, in the right environment and with the right help, will be transformed into new businesses and new jobs. As a community, we have to make sure we’re providing the right support at the right time.”

The goal is to provide clear, coordinated pathways for entrepreneurs and small businesses as well as for those organizations that provide services to them.

“We’re calling this team together to develop an ecosystem that is easy to navigate from a startup standpoint and sustainable to support from a service-provider standpoint,” said Ron Walker, President of the BEDC.

As one of the service providers in the community, the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship was established at Ivy Tech Bloomington in 2010 to provide students, individuals and small businesses with a means to gain and develop the practical application of entrepreneurial skills and ideas.

Chancellor John Whikehart said this joint effort with the City and BEDC helps to further that mission and ensure that the Bloomington and Monroe County community provides a continuum of service to entrepreneurs as their businesses develop.

“Entrepreneurs take great personal risks which can return immense community rewards in terms of jobs and economic vitality,” Whikehart noted. “A community that is successful in helping entrepreneurs make sure those risks are calculated risks – by providing education, technical expertise, mentorship, financial capital and so on – will reap long-term economic benefits that are driven by home-grown innovation.”

The group will create an asset map of existing entrepreneurship and innovation programs, benchmark other communities that have programs and services to support the innovation economy, detail gaps that exist locally and regionally and gather best practices ideas from local entrepreneurial thought leaders. The group will release a final report and recommendations in the spring, and will continue to work together toward implementing those recommendations.

Funding for the initiative has come in part from a recent Community Impact Funding Grant from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. Multiple local organizations will be included in the project.

About City of Bloomington Department of Economic & Sustainable Development

The mission of the Department is to foster a livable and economically resilient community through partnerships, collaboration and outreach, and through strategic initiatives which expand economic opportunities, preserve the health of our environment, provide for social equity to the citizenry, and advance the principles of sustainable development.

About Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech-Bloomington

The Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus was established in 2010 to develop and implement practical tools and resources for students, individuals and the community to foster entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Bloomington and in the broader economic development region it serves.

About BEDC

The BEDC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the retention, development and attraction of quality jobs in Monroe County. The BEDC is led by a partnership of private industry leaders, the City of Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington. For more information click here www.comparebloomington.us

Source: Bloomington Economic Development Corp.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.