The public is welcome to attend the Nov. 15 launch party of Dimension Mill, 642 N. Madison St., Bloomington. The Mill is a 103-year-old building that has been transformed into a 19,000-square-foot coworking and business incubator space in Bloomington’s Trades District.
Mary-Rachel Redman of Inside Indiana Business will emcee the event. Keynote speaker Mark Solon of TechStars will be joined by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton; Pat East, executive director of Dimension Mill; and New York Times bestselling author Jay Baer.
Indiana University is one of The Mill’s Cornerstone Partners. So why is it important to support innovation and entrepreneurship in Bloomington, at IU and in Monroe County? What makes Dimension Mill a good resource in the effort to support them? We asked a few experts.
Pat East, executive director, Dimension Mill
“The Mill has been a highly anticipated project that has been in the works for over a decade. In order for Bloomington to grow and for The Mill’s mission to be fully realized, we can’t do it without IU. An undertaking like The Mill requires that we all pull together as a community. We’re delighted to be working with an institution like IU. It says to our community that we are dedicated to investing in Bloomington’s vibrant entrepreneurial and innovation communities, and that Bloomington’s major institutions are committed to making it a 21st-century, future-forward city that can adapt to a rapidly changing world.”
Bill Stephan, vice president for engagement, Indiana University
“Fostering and supporting creativity and innovation hastens advances across disciplines and serves as a springboard for a wide range of entrepreneurial activity, including the growth of startup companies. These enterprises, in turn, can attract new investment and foment job creation that benefit the entire community. Indeed, it is typically growth among small businesses that contributes most significantly to the economic life and vibrancy of all communities.
“IU’s support for Dimension Mill and direct engagement with our friends and colleagues within this innovation space provides an unequaled off-campus, but proximate, resource for our students, faculty and staff who seek to explore and pursue varied creative interests while benefiting from interaction with other innovators.”
Alexandra Sejdinaj, co-founder, South Bend Code School
“Innovators dive into the unknown to find ways to solve problems for people and organizations. With so much uncertainty, support networks and resources are invaluable to entrepreneurs because they help reduce risk throughout the process, ultimately increasing the chance of a venture’s success.
“We selected The Mill for our Bloomington South Bend Code School location because we wanted to teach our students in an environment that helps foster creativity and innovation. We are so thrilled to be able to offer our programs in a place that supports our mission and work, and allows our business to build community with other Bloomington entrepreneurs.”
Jane Martin, venture capitalist
“An IU-Dimension Mill partnership enhances the university’s mission — not just to create well-rounded, critical thinkers, but to train the nation’s young professionals to excel in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors of our knowledge economy. The Mill’s 100-plus tenants, entrepreneurs, innovators and remote tech workers offer an important enhancement to the classroom through student internships, real-world class projects, and intense career and professional development opportunities through weekly programming and events. This partnership between IU and The Mill takes town-and-gown collaboration to a new level.”
Tony Armstrong, president and CEO, IU Research and Technology Corp.
“Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship is critical, as they are what truly drive economic growth. We’ll also be able to better retain students in Bloomington, and hopefully attract back IU graduates, with great companies or ideas for companies that we can help grow right here. Innovation makes all of our lives better, and the research being done at IU has the ability to change the world in positive ways. It’s incumbent upon us to make that process less burdensome. The companies formed provide tax revenues to the community and careers to local citizens. Part of IU’s mission is to move the research being done on our campuses out into the world, and the way to do that is through entrepreneurship.
“Dimension Mill will give entrepreneurs a place to land when they visit Bloomington to get connected. The Mill will also give local leaders and entrepreneurs the chance to interact on a regular basis. The space will incubate companies that will then grow and need to build and occupy larger spaces in and around Bloomington. The real estate is only one part of the impact of The Mill. The programming that will be offered will help educate and inform entrepreneurs here in Bloomington and hopefully accelerate the growth of their companies. The Mill also serves as an anchor for the Trades District and will be a central location for activity.”
Teri Willey, manager, IU Philanthropic Venture Fund
“Entrepreneurs start companies and can solve problems not only in business, but also address community challenges. Innovation and entrepreneurship are foundations of a healthy economy and positive social change.
“Dimension Mill provides a place to work, collaborate and learn, serving as a bridge with Indiana University and the larger community. In this age of electronic communications, tangible physical proximity not only still matters, it is critical to well-being as well as building business relationships.”
Ellie Symes, CEO, The Bee Corp.
“The Bee Corp is very excited to be a part of The Mill. When we started our company, IU gave us our first office space in the Hoosier Hatchery. We loved the space, but were looking to get closer to the larger Bloomington tech community. When we were looking for office space to lease, we had a difficult time finding one that would give us a shorter-term lease. We were lucky that an office opened up next to Cowork, and the landlords were flexible with our startup needs. Once we became Cowork members and neighbors, we fell in love with having a larger community at our workplace. The Mill has brought that community to an incredible space and created a hub around our tech ecosystem. We look forward to being a space for IU entrepreneurs to get involved in the Bloomington tech ecosystem by taking a short trip down the 10th Street corridor from the Shoemakers Space in Luddy Hall to The Mill.”
Jason Whitney, manager of strategic partnerships, IU Research and Technology Corp.
“The launch of The Mill creates a space that will help serve as a common ground for engaging the entrepreneurial spirit not only in Bloomington residents but in Indiana University faculty and students as well. By having a space that works daily to create a community atmosphere and provides interesting and engaging programming for entrepreneurs of all ages, we are going to be able to create new, exciting and scalable ventures in the Bloomington area that will not just provide exciting careers for its founders and employees, but will provide great lifetime community members to add value to community organizations, local schools and events. The university itself has many interesting spaces on campus, but this provides us an additional resource to better connect with the amazing community of entrepreneurs in Bloomington who also have connections statewide — which we hope encourages the creation and growth of entrepreneurial ventures right here in south-central Indiana.”