The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced the conclusion of its pilot cohort of ReBoot, an entrepreneurial development program for the formerly incarcerated. Participants pitched their businesses live over Zoom on Thursday, April 1. Danielle Morris won the night and took home the winning prize of $2,500 for her business Heroine Studios, a photography service to help women in recovery from substance abuse reclaim their self-esteem. Her business model, based on TOMS shoes, would match each purchased photography session with a free session for a woman in recovery.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the ReBoot pilot,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming for The Mill. “We learned so much from our partners, participants, and guest speakers, and the participants showcased great ideas on demo night.” The pitches were judged by Christopher Emge, Manager of Talent and Education at the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce; Samantha Ginther, Senior Associate and Head of Platform, IU Ventures; and Adam Gross, Director of Industry Outreach and Personal Enrichment, Ivy Tech. Velocities sponsored the prize money for the winning pitch.
ReBoot is a partnership with New Leaf – New Life, which supports incarcerated individuals to make a successful transition back into the community, and Courage to Change, which offers low-barrier housing and services to individuals in recovery. Participants in the six-week program learn how to focus their business ideas, get customer validation, and present their business to potential investors. At the end of the program, participants become members of The Mill, where they can take advantage of additional free programs to grow their businesses and connect to an extensive network of mentors and investors.
The Mill is currently seeking sponsors for the fall 2021 cohort of ReBoot.
The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. To learn more about ReBoot or becoming a mentor or program sponsor, contact Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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