Press

assets & information for our members, partners, & the media. for media inquiries, contact: gretchen@dimensionmill.org

The mill & our members in the news

Students Compete in Annual Maker Challenge HERALD TIMES

Fast 15 Business Awards Recognize Growth, MVP Employees  INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS    WBIW.COM   NEWSBREAK 

The Mill Names Business Innovation Award Winners INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS    WBIW.COM

Bloomington Predictive Mood Software Wins Competition INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS  NEWSBREAK

Bloomington Code School Pilot Graduates First Cohort INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS   WISHTV    NEWSBREAK

15 Startups Receive $660K from Nexus Pitch Competitions (includes 4 Mill member companies) ELEVATE VENTURES

The Mill Partners on New Coding School INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS

Bloomington Predictive Mood Software Wins Competition INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS  NEWSBREAK   IU ENGINEERING NEWS

15 Startups Receive $660K from Nexus Pitch Competitions  ELEVATE VENTURES

15 Startups Receive $660K from Nexus Pitch Competitions  ELEVATE VENTURES

Bloomington Startup Inks Deal with DC Athletics INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS

15 Startups Receive $660K from Nexus Pitch Competitions  ELEVATE VENTURES

15 Startups Receive $660K from Nexus Pitch Competitions  ELEVATE VENTURES

IU Angel Network Invests in Showcase Platform WISHTV.COM

Bloomington Performing Arts Startup Receives Funding INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS

Volunteer Management Startup Growing in Bloomington INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS

MassChallenge Texas Names Top 12 Startup Finalists MASS CHALLENGE

Techstars Iowa announces the 10 startups in its first cohort CLAY AND MILK

Civic Champs app gives nonprofits the tech tools to manage volunteers TECH CRUNCH

Inc. 5000 2020: Introducing the 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America  INC

IndyStar Top Workplaces 2020  INDY STAR

Enterprise data collection startup FormAssembly bags $10 million Series A funding to enable businesses to securely collect and process data TECH STARTUPS

Blue Burro Partners with LegalSifter to Deliver an Artificial Intelligence Procurement Contract Review Solution 

LEGAL SIFTER

PRESS RELEASES FROM The mill

Fast 15 Award Winners Share Stories of Success, pErseverance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 22, 2020

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Knapp, Head of Marketing and Communications, The Mill, gretchen@dimensionmill.org

Bloomington, Ind.—

The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced the 2020 Fast 15 MVP award winners today, December 22.

“In a typical year, the Fast 15 Awards highlight businesses with exceptional revenue growth,” Executive Director Pat East explains. “But 2020 was anything but typical, so we decided to do things a little differently.” The Mill paused the business awards program. Instead, it added a new category for MVP individuals and solicited nominations from throughout the community. The 15 winners hold a variety of positions across very different businesses and organizations. All were nominated for their ingenuity, drive, and leadership in making things happen, no matter what the obstacles. “Especially in challenging times, these folks inspire us with their energy and their achievements,” East says. “And we need a little inspiration this year.”

The 2020 Fast 15 MVP award winners are:

  • Jennifer Borland, Director of Research Programs, Rockman et al
  • Kyle Caird, Global Visual Brand Manager, Cook Medical
  • Megan Cox, CEO, Genie Supply
  • Stephen Crane, Editor, Herald-Times
  • Kurtis Cummings, Founder & President, Switchyard Brewing Company
  • Cory Hawkins, Program Specialist, Banneker Center, City of Bloomington
  • Anne McCombe, Business Relationship Manager, MetroStar Systems
  • Jennie Moser, Opera Singer, Founder & CEO, Stagetime
  • Molly Nagy, Director of People Operations, Brainlabs
  • Dana Palazzo, Engineer, Chexology
  • Ben Swanson, Cofounder, Secretly Group
  • Becky Throckmorton, HR Manager and EEO Officer at Weddle Bros. Construction
  • Geng Wang, CEO and Cofounder, Civic Champs
  • Jason Whitney, Associate Vice President, IU Ventures, & Executive Director, IU Angel Network
  • Markay Winston, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, MCCSC

Each winner was asked to share how they personally found success in 2020. A common theme emerged of making a team or community impact. Tech CEO Geng Wang found great success for his business, but also found time to create a separate nonprofit. “The Helping Hands project was formed to assist seniors and immunocompromised individuals with everyday tasks that have become difficult due to the pandemic,” he says. “Although this project was not intended to generate revenues, I believed the project was crucial to stand in solidarity with the community and further form a tighter bond among employees wanting to make an impact. To date this philanthropic initiative has helped over 700 individuals across the Bloomington community.”

Winner Markay Winston of MCCSC notes, “There is no road map for this type of crisis. Our schools teach children with varying abilities and needs, and we had to quickly figure out how to provide meaningful learning opportunities over a computer for all students. . . The fact that we have given each other and ourselves just a little grace during this unpredictable journey is the real success of 2020!”

Cory Hawkins summed up her work simply: “I want to have an impact that my daughter and her generation can be proud of.”

To read all the stories from the winners, visit https://dimensionmill.org/fast15-awards/

The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship.

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2020 FUSE Business Innovation Award Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 17, 2020

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Knapp, Head of Marketing and Communications, The Mill, gretchen@dimensionmill.org  

Bloomington, Ind.—The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced the 2020 FUSE Business Innovation Awards today, December 17. The FUSE Awards recognize the accomplishments of both companies and individuals in Bloomington’s thriving technology and innovation scene.

“These innovation leaders drive growth in our entrepreneurial ecosystem and our local economy,” said Pat East, The Mill’s Executive Director. “Some of the 2020 winners, like Jeff Mease of One World Enterprises, have been bringing creative ideas to life for years. Others, like Megan Cox’s company Genie Supply, are bringing new energy, new talent, and whole new industries to south central Indiana. The Bloomington metro area is rich in experience and ingenuity, and we’re going to need both to fully recover from the economic repercussions of the pandemic.”

The 2020 winners are:

  • Bill & Gayle Cook Entrepreneur of the Year: Jeff Mease, One World Enterprises
  • Mentor of the Year (awarded to an outstanding role model who has advised and encouraged best practices in an early stage company’s growth): Cy Megnin, Velocities
  • Company of the Year (awarded to a company who exemplifies Bloomington’s values while achieving revenue and job growth): Catalent
  • Rising Star of the Year (awarded to a company with less than ten employees that has laid the foundation for future revenue and job growth): Genie Supply
  • Partner of the Year (awarded to an organization who directly impacts the success of The Mill and its members): Cook Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Community Leader Supporting Entrepreneurship & Innovation (awarded to an individual who proudly and unapologetically supports The Mill and its members with time, energy, and talent): Lynn Coyne
  • Newsworthy Event of the Year (voted by Mill members and awarded to an individual, corporation, or organization who best demonstrates through public relations that great things are happening in Bloomington: Catalent invests $50mm and hires 300 additional employees to support a COVID-19 vaccine

The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. The FUSE Awards were founded by the Indiana SBDC (Small Business Development Center) in 2004. The Mill rebooted the awards and has been celebrating the community’s successes since 2017.

For a full list of all nominees and winners, visit https://dimensionmill.org/fuse-business-innovation-awards/

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Predictive Mood Software ShuffleMe Wins Business plan Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 15, 2020

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Knapp, Head of Marketing and Communications, The Mill, gretchen@dimensionmill.org or 812-369-1399

Bloomington, Ind.—The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced that ShuffleMe was the winner of the inaugural Spark Business Plan Competition today, December 15. ShuffleMe is predictive mood software to help social media users monitor the impact of social media on their mood. The SaaS solution runs in the background, using facial recognition and emotional AI to gather data for users and their mental health providers. Founder Britain Taylor took home $2,500, which she says will be used to help make sure the software is multiplatform. Test pilots are already running now with several medical institutions.

The competition was open to entrepreneurs in the Bloomington-Columbus area, and sponsored by Duke Energy. Entries were scored by a panel of judges including investors and experts representing Elevate Ventures, IU Ventures, the Kelley School of Business, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Velocities, and Ivy Tech Community College.

Additional high scores were earned by: OurSafeQ, a virtual system to manage lines of waiting; Reezy, an app to help consumers easily save all digital and print receipts from any store; and WayZada, which creates custom 3-D works of art to memorialize outdoor achievements such as long distance runs.

The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. For more information on the Spark competition, visit https://dimensionmill.org/business-plan-competition/

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The Mill Graduates First Cohort of Code School

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 11, 2020

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Ward, Head of Partnerships and Initiatives, melissa@dimensionmill.org

Bloomington, Indiana (December 11, 2020)—On Friday, December 11, the first cohort of The Mill Code School, powered by gener8tor, graduated in a virtual ceremony. Featured speakers include Mayor John Hamilton and Secretary Blair Milo, the State of Indiana’s first Secretary for Career Connections and Talent.

Funded in part through a $100,000 investment by the City of Bloomington, The Mill Code School was a 10-week free pilot program for Bloomington residents to gain entry-level coding skills, in order to access better employment options.  No prior experience or degrees were required. Participants could complete the program while also working full-time.

The Mill started brainstorming about the program June of 2020, in response to the economic challenges of COVID, and partnered with nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor to bring their ground-breaking upskilling programs to Bloomington. To find Code School students, The Mill and gener8tor worked together to spread the word, collaborate with local organizations, and conduct outreach. The pilot program quickly received about 140 applications for 40 slots, which were prioritized for participants who were unemployed or underemployed and not typically represented in tech jobs. Almost 30% of applicants were minorities, 20 applicants identified as immigrants, and 20 identified as LGBTQ+. Half the participants selected were women.

Over the course of the program, gener8tor team members guided participants through LinkedIn Learning Platform’s Software Developer modules related to core technologies for web development, software development, and databases.  In addition, Code School participants received technical, resume, and interview coaching; gained virtual access to a network of peers for support and community; attended lunch and learns; and received interview placement with companies ready to hire candidates with these skills. Gener8tor even went above and beyond the partnership contract and generously donated a Chromebook to a student in need. Secretary Milo praised the program for being “trailblazing” and commented, “This is such a perfect example of another way that Bloomington is continuing to lead the way in the world, with the collaboration you’ve brought together, and the skill set that graduates have learned to become  part of an emerging economy.”

Ivy Tech Community College also supported the program. Their Workforce Alignment Office volunteered for The Mill Code School Lunch & Learn series, and computer science instructors in the School of Information Technology donated hours of technical coaching.

Many of the participants finished the self-paced curriculum early. The program had an 80% retention rate (compared to the average 50% rate). Of the 40 original participants, 32 will graduate on Friday. Moreover, the program is reaching beyond those students. The Mill surveyed applicants who weren’t selected to join the program, and of those who responded, 20% have started the software development career track on their own; another 30% said they hadn’t started yet, but plan to.

The Mill and its partners supported participants in and outside of the program, addressing life obstacles and working on job placement. “Even once the curriculum is done and the participants have graduated, there’s still work to be done,” said Executive Director Pat East, “including the important work of finding funding and preparing for additional cohorts in 2021. We want to build on this success, grow Bloomington’s tech talent pool, and create more opportunities for more citizens to enter the digital economy.”

“We’re your long-term advocates,” gener8tor’s Cole Shearer told graduates during the virtual ceremony. Graduates will receive ongoing job postings; several graduates have already received offers or interviews.  “Each one of you is in a position to turn a page and start a new chapter in your life,” Mayor Hamilton noted.

The City of Bloomington’s investment in the pilot program of The Mill Code School is part of Recover Forward, Mayor John Hamilton’s initiative to rebuild Bloomington from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic collapse in a way that more thoroughly embodies the community’s goals for racial equity, a sustainable and resilient economy, and climate action.

“We’re so proud of the first cohort of Code School graduates,” East said, “for their persistence, bravery, and engagement. We’re excited to see where they go from here.”

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gBETA Bloomington-Columbus Announces Its Inaugural Program

BLOOMINGTON/COLUMBUS, INDIANA – gBETA has announced its newest Indiana program Bloomington-Columbus in partnership with Velocities, The Mill and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. gBETA is nationally ranked accelerator gener8tor’s free, seven-week accelerator program for early stage startups with local roots. gBETA Bloomington-Columbus is an expansion of gBETA’s programming in Indiana, with previous expansions to Terre Haute and Ft. Wayne in 2020.

The program is slated to kick off in early March, 2021, and will be industry and vertical agnostic. Geoff Zentz, who ran the gBETA Indy, Terre Haute, and AgBioScience programs in 2019 and 2020, will serve as the gBETA Bloomington-Columbus Director. The gBETA program will work with five startups from the Velocities region, helping them refine their business models, connect with mentors, gain more customer traction and prepare their pitches. The companies will also pitch to a minimum of 25 investors.

The program will culminate with a Pitch Night in late April. The participating gBETA companies will give a five-minute pitch in front of a captive audience of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and community members. The Velocities-region community will be invited to attend, and the event will be free and open to the public.

“gBETA’s entry into Columbus and Bloomington presents a tremendous opportunity for area entrepreneurs to accelerate their startups, by opening doors to top-notch expertise and a powerful network of investors,” says Cindy Frey, President of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve witnessed, first-hand, how gBETA can transform entrepreneurs with a big idea into leaders of a focused, fast-growing company.”

The gBETA program is offered in Bloomington-Columbus thanks to the support of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Velocities.
Interested Startup founders looking to accelerate the growth for their business and/or also potentially raising venture capital, mentors, or investors interested in learning more should contact gBETA Indiana Director Geoff Zentz (geoff@gener8tor.com). For more information, visit https://www.gbetastartups.com/bloomington-columbus.

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About gener8tor
www.gener8tor.com

gener8tor’s turnkey platform for the creative economy connects startup founders, musicians, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships.

About gBETA
www.gBETAstartups.com

gBETA accelerates the growth of early-stage companies through its network-driven program. gBETA supports five teams per cohort and requires no fees and no equity. Since launching in 2015, gBETA program alumni have raised $111M+ in capital and created 1,000+ jobs across the U.S. and Canada.

About Velocities
https://velocitiesin.com/

Velocities is a partnership between The Mill of Bloomington, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and Elevate Ventures. This partnership provides a wealth of resources to entrepreneurs and early stage companies. Starting and growing a business takes more than passion. It takes the support and resources that two of Indiana’s most inspiring and vibrant cities can offer. Let passion fuel your dreams. The partners of Velocities can provide funding, marketing support, business coaching, and professional resources to accelerate your success.

FAST 15 BUSINESS AWARD APPLICATIONS OPEN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 29, 2020

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Knapp, Head of Marketing & Communications, The Mill, gretchen@dimensionmill.org or 812-369-1399.

Fast 15 Awards Recognize Business Growth, Outstanding Employees

Bloomington, Ind. – Applications have opened for the 2020 Fast 15 Business Awards. Now in their second year, the Fast 15 Business Awards showcase Monroe County’s 15 fastest-growing companies. New this year, the Fast 15 MVP Awards will celebrate 15 exceptional employees who help accelerate growth through unusual ability to get things done.

The Fast 15 Awards program is part of The Mill’s commitment to showcasing Bloomington’s thriving startup and business ecosystem. “There’s a symbiotic relationship between talent and business growth,” said Executive Director Pat East.  “Fast growth require access to a skilled workforce, and talented people look for exceptional opportunities. When we publicize our community’s success, we position Bloomington as a great place to grow businesses and careers. Growth attracts the investment and opportunity we’ll need to make a full economic recovery from COVID and lay the foundation for a prosperous future.”

More information and application links are available at The Fast 15 Awards. The deadline to apply is October 9. Winners will be announced and publicized through local media in late October.

Online applications for the awards take just a few minutes. Business owners apply for the Fast 15 Awards by submitting simple growth metrics (all financial details are kept confidential). For the MVP Award for exceptional employees, The Mill accepts employer, peer, and self-nominations. Employee nominees can be affiliated with any company, not just those applying for the business awards.

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The Mill Code School Currently Seeking Applications for Free Digital Skills Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 15, 2020

For more information, please contact:

Jane Kupersmith, Assistant Director for Small Business Development, City of Bloomington, jane.kupersmith@bloomington.in.gov or 812-349-2418; or Melissa Ward,  Head of Initiatives and Partnerships, The Mill, melissa@dimensionmill.org or 810-569-6502.

The Mill Code School Currently Seeking Applications for Free Digital Skills Training  

Bloomington, Ind. – Funded in part through a $100,000 investment by the City of Bloomington, The Mill Code School will begin instruction for its first cohort of up to 40 participants on October 5.  The 10-week pilot program will provide an opportunity for Bloomington residents to improve their digital skills, specifically in software development, to access better employment options.  No prior experience or degrees are required for participation. The deadline to apply for participation in the first cohort is September 20.  Subsequent sessions will be offered throughout 2021.  More information and registration are available at Mill Code School — gener8tor Upskilling

The City’s investment in The Mill Code School is part of Recover Forward, Mayor John Hamilton’s initiative to rebuild Bloomington from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic collapse in a way that more thoroughly embodies our community’s goals for racial equity, a sustainable and resilient economy, and climate action.

“I’m thrilled that this partnership has come together so quickly during this critical period to equip our residents — particularly those unemployed or under-employed — with relevant skills for the new economy,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “I encourage anyone to apply who wants to refresh their skill set to work toward a better paying job in the fast-growing local and national tech sector.”

With instruction offered through the nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor, The Mill Code School is a free 10-week program that can be completed while also working full-time. Over the course of the program, gener8tor team members will guide participants through the Software Developer learning modules related to core technologies for web development, software development, and databases.  In addition, The Mill Code School participants will receive coaching on resume and cover letter writing and interviewing; gain virtual access to a network of peers for support and community; and receive interview placement with companies ready to hire candidates with these skills.

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