A Dec. 1 public meeting and online survey are the next steps in the City of Bloomington's Digital Equity Strategic Plan. The city recently released a draft of the plan, which lays out a framework to improve internet accessibility and affordability for Bloomington residents.
A meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 starts at 6:30 p.m. via this Zoom link.
Click here to give feedback online.
The Mill has launched its Spark Business Plan Competition for entrepreneurs in south-central Indiana, with a cash prize of $2,500 going to the winner.
Pre-seed startups in the Bloomington and Columbus region are encouraged to apply by Dec. 4 with a 5-minute pitch video, an executive summary of their business plan, and a slide deck.
Entries will be reviewed by a panel of entrepreneurs and investors, and the top three and winner will be announced during a live Zoom event on Dec. 15.
Click here for more information and to apply.
The City of Bloomington is implementing parking via the ParkMobile app, allowing people to find, reserve, and pay for parking at over 150 spots in two app-only parking zones in Bloomington.
The app will be activated later this month for parking at these locations, which previously were free:
More information about using the app is available at Park Mobile Pay By Phone FAQs. The app-only zones are available to those without a smartphone by calling the number listed at the Pay By Phone sign (1-877-727-5007) and following instructions to pay by credit card.
The Indiana Small Business Development Center and Indiana University Kelley School of Business are offering a no-cost technology consulting service to small businesses with the goal of establishing or increasing their online presence and/or creating digital capabilities.
Eligible companies may apply for no-cost assistance to help establish or increase their online presence through website development, e-commerce support and other digital tools and services. Under this Project HOPE program, Kelley students and recent graduates are offered paid internships to assist small businesses in solving technology issues or providing new digital capabilities. Projects include creating or modifying websites, building e-commerce platforms, improving cybersecurity frameworks, migrating data, and more.
Indiana small businesses can submit applications online here. For more information, contact Troy Phelps, Assistant Director for Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center For Entrepreneurship, at email@example.com. The South Central Indiana SBDC is housed at Ivy Tech Bloomington.
Over 150 companies have been helped so far, with more than 80 in the pipeline. The project engages with 40 new clients every two weeks and will be continuing this level of engagement through the rest of 2020.
On July 1, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division held its Change of Command ceremony, honoring outgoing Capt. Mark Oesterreich, who has led the operation since July 2017 and is retiring, and welcoming the new commanding officer, Capt. Duncan McKay.
Click here to read the NSWC Crane press release about Capt. McKay.
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field site for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). Its work focuses on expeditionary warfare, strategic missions and electronic warfare. Located about 35 miles southwest of Bloomington in Martin County and parts of Greene and Lawrence counties, NSWC Crane employs more than 3,000 people, making it one of this region's largest employers.
A partnership between Ellettsville-based Smithville Communications and South Central Indiana REMC, a rural electric cooperative, is set to bring high-speed fiber broadband to thousands of rural customers in Monroe and Owen Counties.
Launched in May, the buildout of this fiber network will eventually serve about 3,400 residents by 2023. The first phase is focused on the rural area between Spencer and Gosport.
Read more about the project here.
The Dimension Mill has released its 2019 Annual Report, with highlights of membership, programs and events. This is The Mill's first report since opening in November 2018.
Click here to read The Mill's annual report.
The Mill is a co-working space and business incubator located at 642 N. Madison in the city's Trades District. It operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, funded initially by the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission. Erin Predmore, the Chamber's CEO, serves on The Mill's board and 5-member executive committee.
One of the newest members of The Mill is Cy Megnin, the entrepreneur-in-residence for Velocities, a partnership between Elevate Ventures, The Mill and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.
Cy, who grew up in Bloomington, will be working to support other entrepreneurs in the Bloomington/Columbus region. Most recently he has funded and led several companies in Austin, Texas, including CloudCoreo (acquired by VMware), PrepFlash, and OCPS, a real estate investment firm that focused on environmentally conscious building practices.
You can meet Cy in person on Monday, Aug. 12, at a meet-and-greet from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Mill. Appetizers and drinks will be served, and Cy will lead an interactive "fireside chat" from 6-6:45 p.m. Click here to register. You can also find Cy on Twitter at @CyMegnin.
Interested in learning more about The Mill? On the third Thursday of each month, you can try out the co-working space for free. The day includes a networking lunch called COLLIDE. Click here for more info.
But wait – there's more! Keep in the loop by signing up for The Mill's newsletter here. And check out the Chamber's recent 3 Things podcast for an interview with Pat East, The Mill's executive director, and graphic designer Jennie Moser, owner and founder of Jennie Moser Design, about entrepreneurship in Bloomington and the role that The Mill plays in providing an attractive space for freelancers and small business owners to work and network.
The City of Bloomington is planning to join MetroLab Network, a consortium that supports partnerships between cities and the universities in their community to boost civic innovation.
Devta (pronounced DAVE-tuh) Kidd, the city's Innovation Director, announced the plans at the City Council's June 12 meeting as part of a broader presentation on her work. MetroLab's goal "is to help cities establish formal relationships with their local university to treat the city as a living laboratory and leverage the braintrust of the university, especially in research, for those really big, thorny issues that we encounter," Kidd said.
The application process requires a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Mayor John Hamilton and either Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, Provost Lauren Robel or Vice President for Research Fred Cate.
Currently, South Bend is the only Indiana city that's a MetroLab member, partnering with the University of Notre Dame. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg wrote about the partnership in his book, "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model." He also gave the keynote at MetroLab's 2017 annual summit, describing a project that put "smart sensors" into the city's sewer system.
Check out MetroLab Network's website to learn more about this effort, including a list of members and projects.
Did you know that the City of Bloomington has a quick way to report problems with services or facilities? The uReport is an online tool to alert the city about issues with parking, street repair, parks, hazardous situations and more.
For example, click on the Cleanup & Sanitation icon to see a list of specific issues to report: debris removal, excessive growth (presumably not economic growth!), graffiti, leaf collection, recycling, trash, and yard waste. You can upload a photo of the situation and write a brief description before submitting.
Interested in tracking city performance? The Bclear portal provides information on a range of operations, from filling potholes to annual compensation reports. There are 181 datasets available on Bclear so far, including nine that relate to business/economy.
One of the Chamber's roles is to ensure our members and residents are well-informed so that they can be more engaged participants in our community. Have an issue you'd like to learn more about? Let us know! Contact Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-336-6381.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy