By: John Fallon—
Does Muncie have a business start-up community? Are local entrepreneurs familiar with each other and networked? Is there a technology sector in the Muncie community? Is there any real benefit to be gained from connecting people who are involved in establishing new businesses?
These questions and others have prompted Sustainable Muncie Corporation, with help from a local bank, to pursue the establishment of a Verge community in Muncie. A Verge community is simply a regular gathering of people who are involved in start-up companies and they engage in pitch competitions, networking and collaborative projects. Patterned after the original Verge community in Indianapolis, the local group will attempt to connect as many local entrepreneurs as possible with a particular interest in promoting collaboration, sharing information and learning. While most such companies are primarily technology-related, virtually all use technology prominently in their operations. As Verge communities grow and develop, the individuals involved and their companies benefit directly from networking and sharing data and information.
MutualBank has signed on as the Founding Sponsor of Muncie Verge. The bank has a strong and longstanding track-record of supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in communities throughout its service area. Dave Heeter, CEO of MutualBank, is eager to continue this pattern of support. “Cultivating local entrepreneurship as an enlightened approach to local economic development is gaining credence nationally. We at MutualBank are part of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem and intend to do everything we can to support this sector’s continuing emergence. We consider the establishment of Muncie Verge as an important step in this direction and we are proud to be involved in this way.”
Sustainable Muncie Corporation’s interest in a Muncie Verge community relates to its focus on the Cintas Initiative. According to John Fallon, Executive Director of the Corporation, “While our primary preoccupation is on the Cintas building itself and its transformation into an entrepreneurship and innovation hub, we are no less interested in creating a constellation of live/work spaces in the area. These spaces would permit entrepreneurs to live and work in the same residential structure. And even though they wouldn’t be connected physically to the primary facility, they would be related programmatically.”
The local Verge team includes representatives from the Innovation Connector, Muncie Redevelopment Commission, Ball State University, Muncie Downtown Development Partnership and a local technology start-up. Muncie Verge is scheduling its formal kick-off event for early October.
John Fallon, Executive Director, Sustainable Muncie Corporation: 734.740.9175
Michael Wolfe, President, Sustainable Muncie Corporation: 765.215.1004