Daviess Economic Development officials explore creating technology co-working facility to promote entrepreneurs, business development
From left: Ron Arnold; John Wechsler, Launch Fishers; Natalie Smith; Kevin Cox
FISHERS, Indiana – “There is momentum for entrepreneurs in Daviess County and we need to identify ways to accelerate and support that momentum,” said Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC), regarding his March 10 visit to the Launch Fishers facility northeast of Indianapolis. Launch Fishers, a 52,000-sq. ft. not-for-profit operation, describes itself as “a co-working space for entrepreneurs working on startup, high growth and high-potential enterprises.”
“The importance of tapping into the Launch Fishers network concept was reinforced when we found that the Battery Innovation Center from the WestGate tech park was actively engaged in the facility,” said Arnold, who was accompanied on the initial visit by Natalie Smith and Kevin Cox of the Daviess County Economic Development Foundation.
The Launch Fishers program has recently captured considerable media attention because of its success in attracting high-impact entrepreneurs. It recently played a major leadership role in starting up an Internet of Things (IoT) technology facility. As noted by several technology experts, Indiana is quickly becoming a center for IoT development, which has been described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution in terms of its impact.
Arnold, Smith and Cox met with John Wechsler, a successful technology executive and serial entrepreneur who has been leading the development of co-working facilities in Indiana. After briefing them on the IoT facility in Fishers, Wechsler told the group that it was difficult to fully describe the true impact that Launch Fishers has. “It’s like telling somebody about the Indianapolis 500 who’s never been there,” Wechsler explained. “Until you see it up front and feel the impact in your heart, it’s hard to describe.”
Wechsler, who leads a statewide technology development group for the Indiana Chamber, has been key in developing similar entrepreneur co-working spaces around the state. Launch Fishers has helped create a “passport” program where entrepreneurs who have joined one co-working operation can also use other facilities around the state. A small co-working facility at the WestGate @ Crane Academy is already part of that shared program.
Arnold noted that earlier efforts to explore the idea and vision of an active entrepreneur space and program included discussions about bringing a computer coding program to Washington and also formal assessment visits to Washington from senior Discovery Park administrators and researchers at Purdue.
“We’re still very much in the exploratory phase, but it is exciting, particularly if we can build on our Daviess County CEO program for high school students and put together a co-worker/incubator network on a regional basis for entrepreneurs associated with NSWC Crane and elsewhere,” Arnold noted.
On its web site, Launch Fishers says that a major aspect of its positive impact comes from the fact that “Launch Fishers offers its members the opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals, which, as every successful entrepreneur knows, can be the difference between growth and failure.”
More information is available at www.launchfishers.com Anyone interested in discussing the possible Daviess County co-working space can contact Natalie Smith at 812-254-1500.