As Verge continues to expand throughout Indiana, we’re seeing more and more excitement around the tech sector. Katie Birge, the Director of the Bloomington Tech Partnership walks us through the highlights of the Bloomington tech scene and shares what makes their city a great place to startup.
There’s lots of tech happening in Bloomington. Many Vergers probably know Bloomington as a busy college town with well-known bars and a love of basketball, but it’s also an ideal city for startups and innovators, who enjoy blending the access to great minds with the promising business climate and low cost of doing business. If you’re not familiar with tech and startups in Bloomington, here’s a rundown of the city’s tech scene and a brief history of Verge Btown:
The Right Stuff
With an active startup scene both on and off campus, Bloomington is a great fit for a Verge community. Verge Bloomington kicked off in October 2012 in conjunction with The Combine, Bloomington’s 3-day tech conference bringing global speakers to Indiana’s stage for a weekend of fast-paced talks, workshops and networking. The Combine celebrates coding, community, culture and capital through its annual gathering of technologists from the Midwest and beyond. The Combine returns to Bloomington this year from April 11th-13th, so stay tuned for updates on how Verge plans to celebrate.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink
Verge Bloomington welcomes roughly 45 attendees monthly, and the crowd is continuing to grow. We’re fortunate to have an active group of Startup Weekend organizers in Bloomington to direct new startups to the event each month. We’ve seen a wide range of startups pitch in the past 16 months, with presenters showing us anything from new ways of language learning to digital comic book readers to agricultural monitoring systems…and while we haven’t gotten to the kitchen sink (yet!), we can probably ask our friends at BloomingLabs (Indiana’s first hackerspace) to make one for us.
Bloomington’s startup scene benefits from connections to Indiana University’s entrepreneurs, and we’re lucky to be home to the Ivy Tech Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship as well. IU students looking to get up and running with their startup ideas can take advantage of the BEST Competition, an initiative that awards $100,000 to its top competitors. Bloomington’s own SproutBox and RunUp Labs bring prospective startups to the area, and for those wanting to get more involved in the local tech scene, the Bloomington Technology Partnership can steer anyone in the right direction (Psssst: They can help you get a job, too!).
The Future is Bright
The Bloomington area continues to invest in technology and startups. The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship provides project-based learning geared towards young entrepreneurs and is an alternative to traditional high school education. In addition, the city approved a master plan for the downtown Certified Technology Park, 65 acres of space in the heart of the city designed to transform Bloomington’s tech sector.
We’re looking forward to what’s in store for Bloomington’s startup scene in 2014, and we hope you check it out this year. Catch Verge Bloomington events on the 2nd Thursday of every month, and join our meetup for updates.