Do you want to launch a for-profit, innovation-based business in Bloomington?
Indiana University Bloomington students, faculty and staff — as well as other Monroe County residents — can apply to participate in the virtual 2020-21 cohort of B-Start, a pre-accelerator program, to help launch their business. Women, minorities, veterans and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.
The Bloomington Economic Development Corp. will accept applications until Sept. 30 from Monroe County residents to join the sixth annual B-Start cohort. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, B-Start will be entirely virtual. The four-month program, running October 2020 to February 2021, includes:
- Individual mentoring by local leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals who have experience or interest in starting and scaling companies.
- Group workshops and peer meetups to guide cohort members through the startup process. The cohort meets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
- Demo Day, B-Start’s final event in which entrepreneurs pitch their business plan to judges in a competition format.
- A stipend for completing the program. The amount of the stipend varies year-to-year. The stipend for the 2019-20 cohort was $750.
Ellyn Sallee, the project/development manager at the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, directs the B-Start program. She said COVID-19 has forced owners to rethink their business models.
“Businesses are adapting to new safety measures through innovation, creativity and perseverance while maintaining their production and services,” Sallee said. “B-Start encourages such innovation among entrepreneurs who are looking to start a new business, perhaps with new ideas coming from life changes and uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. B-Start will continue supporting this entrepreneurial spirit and our local talent base, which will in turn create more jobs for Monroe County.”
Blueprint Stats, founded by then-IU junior Hunter Hawley, won second place and $1,500 in the 2020 Demo Day competition, along with the $750 stipend for completing the B-Start program. Hawley also received a six-month, part-time membership to Dimension Mill, a co-working space in Bloomington. Since then, Blueprint Stats has been awarded $20,000 in funding from the Elevate Ventures Community Ideation Fund and reached a partnership agreement with the District of Columbia State Athletic Association.
For more information and to apply to B-Start, visit the program’s website.