Innovators Drive Big Plans For Muncie 'GearBox'

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The building used to be home to a large Cintas facility. The building used to be home to a large Cintas facility.

A project designed to drive entrepreneurship and serve as a catalyst for the startup community in Muncie now has a name. The Sustainable Muncie Corp. board of directors has announced the former Cintas building in the city's downtown will be called "GearBox: Muncie - A Maker Hub."

Leaders of the initiative are meeting with prospective tenants and organizations interested in locating to the space. Sustainable Muncie Corp. executives also say GearBox's vision has been expanded to include what the group says is "a constellation of live/work spaces in the community and the entrepreneurs that will occupy them, formal partnerships with the community’s anchor institutions, alliances with organizations that support the maker concept and its practitioners and makers themselves." In other words, the organization is interested in creating a network of residential options that tie-in with the hub and the opportunities that would spring from it.

During an interview last month with Inside INdiana Business, Sustainable Muncie Corp. Executive Director John Fallon said the effort, which coincides with the push to launch Muncie Verge, said the hub is slated to formally get underway early next month. Fallon said the startup community's potential remains largely untapped in the city.

The effort has been supported by MutualBank, which is the primary sponsor, and the Innovation Connector, Muncie Redevelopment Commission, Ball State University and Muncie Downtown Development Partnership.

Fallon says the name "conjures up a clear mental image and appeals to millenials and younger people."

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