B-Start Links Entrepreneurs to Startup Community

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The B-Start Competition is in its third year. The B-Start Competition is in its third year.

The vice president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. says a startup competition is helping key players in the city's entrepreneurial ecosystem do two things they haven't always done well: talk and engage with each other. Dana Palazzo says the B-Start Competition, which launched in 2015, serves as a connection for young entrepreneurs to resources and members of the community in an effort to keep talent and ideas in Bloomington. This year's winner is Zachary Burr, who's plans map out a subscription-based and on-demand laundry service called Tydee.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Palazzo said the idea is to get students off the campus and into the local ecosystem. "We had our local entrepreneurs serve as mentors for those student startups, so that buy-in from the local community is really important for us," she said. Palazzo said the program could be opened up to entrepreneurs outside the campus in the future. "We have a lot of folks in town that are already living there and working there and have business ideas, too, so it could add value to connect those two so the students can get to know the folks working on things in Bloomington."

Burr said the best thing about B-Start was taking away the "very scary and very intimidating" feeling of launching a company by learning from business leaders who have been there before. He said "I feel like I'm going to start a bunch of companies in my future, but we'll see. I definitely have a taste for it.

The program is a partnership among the BEDC, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College and Cook Group.

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