A group of leaders in Muncie is aiming to create a "vehicle" to bring focus to the city’s startup community. Sustainable Muncie Corp. Executive Director John Fallon, who is spearheading Muncie Verge, says the burgeoning organization will be located in the former Cintas building in the city’s downtown, which is currently being targeted as a future innovation hub. Muncie Verge is set to formally launch in early October.
It has already received support from primary sponsor MutualBank, as well as the Innovation Connector, Muncie Redevelopment Commission, Ball State University and the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership.
He says the potential of startups in Muncie remains largely untapped, particularly those linked with Ball State. Fallon is realistic and says he can’t yet pin down the full scope of the entrepreneurship sector in Muncie. He does point to one startup, PROJECTiONE LLC, as a "prototype" for the kind of business that could match well with the goals of Muncie Verge. PROJECTiONE is a design and fabrication studio in downtown Muncie that focuses on ways of using digital tools with analog methods, creating what it describes as "full scale prototypes, research and collaboration with other disciplines."
Verge, which was started in Indianapolis as a way for startups to connect, network and share resources, also has communities in Bloomington, Terre Haute, West Lafayette, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis and North Carolina.
Fallon says "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."
Fallon tells Inside INdiana Business the entrepreneurship scene in Muncie is in need of guidance.