Southwest Indiana to Study Entrepreneurial Network

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A $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration will help fund a study to establish a network of entrepreneurial centers in southwest Indiana. Radius Indiana says the study will bring the public and private sectors together by building an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy.

The Southwest Indiana Technology and Collaboration Hub Network, or SWITCH, will allow entrepreneurial centers in the region to share resources with each other. Radius Indiana previously received an initial grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to begin studying the concept of a SWITCH network and says it will use those funds to match the EDA grant.

The study is a partnership among 11 local economic development organizations, three regional planning commissions, two regional economic development organizations, Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc., and the IEDC. The Knox County Economic Development Corp. is among the partners.

"Two of KCDC's primary goals vetted out during our recent comprehensive strategic plan are to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem and improve retention and attraction of talent," said Kent Utt, president Knox County Economic Development Corp. "These goals will be further advanced through the SWITCH feasibility study and enhance a collaborative region focused on innovation and entrepreneurship."

Greg Jones, director of Southern Indiana Development Commission, which was awarded the EDA grant, says the SWITCH initiative, if done right, will be a model for the rest of the country for increasing entrepreneurship and collaboration in rural America. Radius adds it would support private capital investment and create jobs throughout the region.

The planning process for the study is slated to begin this fall.

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