It’s your business

Partnership in Bloomington area encourages start-ups

By Steve Bryant
A Bloomington voice
May 24, 2013

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released the Enterprising States report (www.freeenterprise.com/enterprisingstates/#about) that details how well individual states are performing at enterprise creation (a.k.a. entrepreneurship).

Indiana was ranked in 43rd place in the report, mostly due to lack of a high number of new business start-ups.

So, what’s a state to do to improve the climate for entrepreneurship?

Ivy Tech’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, the city of Bloomington, Bloomington Economic Development Corp. and a host of other local agencies, partners and friends have been working on development of an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Road Mapping Project funded through the Impact Grant program of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.

Essentially, we are trying to determine how to build a better environment to support people who want to own and operate a business.

Not an easy task, but we have a pretty good environment for entrepreneurship and innovation started here already. There are many local entrepreneurial success stories, organizations that foster innovation (SproutBox, Indiana University, Crane), agencies to assist with advice and counseling (Small Business Development Corp. and SCORE, a group that offers financial and planning advice to start-ups), world-class entrepreneurship centers at Indiana University (Johnson Center), the Cook Center and a community that loves its local startup scene.

So, what’s missing?

We are trying to get to the bottom of that by researching trends, needs and wants of entrepreneurs and the types of tools and programs necessary to enable more people to start their own venture. With the huge amount of brain power coming out of IU, Crane, Ivy Tech and local “tinkerers,” we should be able to grow the startup culture here in Bloomington, Monroe County and the region.

Honestly, we are just getting started in evaluating the needs and coming up with ideas and strategies to launch more small businesses locally.

Perhaps programs such as Lemonade Day and the newly branded Academy for Life Sciences and Entrepreneurship (New Tech High School) are a few small ways to encourage youth to think about their own business as a career choice. Entrepreneurs need to be vocal in letting us know what they think — they are the audience we need to hear from as we roll all this out.

We should be able to shed some light on this issue with some recommendations later this summer, so stay tuned.

Steve Bryant directs the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship.

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2013

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.