*Original Story posted on the Muncie Journal. *
JULY 29, 2017
By: Tracy Dishman—
Innovation Connector’s “Coding Connector”
Gives Kids Computer Coding Experience and More
AUGUST 29, 2017
By: Tracy Dishman—
Muncie, IN—The Innovation Connector has a unique opportunity for young people to learn “the language of the future” — computer coding.
Techwise Academy and the Innovation Connector, along with a handful of other community resources, have partnered to create the Coding Connector. This hands-on program offers camp and workshop-style opportunities, as well as weekly computer coding classes for ages 5 years old through high school age young adults.
Located in a newly remodeled computer lab in the Innovation Connector, the Coding Connector lab holds 15-20 computers, tablets and students comfortably.
“About a year and a half ago, Techwise Academy, run by Ryan Hunter and Brandon Coppernoll, were holding coding classes at the Innovation Connector,” described Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector. “As I watched them and got a good feel for what they were doing, I knew that a “joined forces” connection would be a great fit for our community.”
With the assistance from the Innovation Connector, the newly formed Coding Connector received a $10,000 grant from AT&T to purchase computers and tablets. “The students would bring in their own computers when the coding classes were first offered. I noticed that it took the first part of each coding class for Ryan and Brandon to set up each of the computers and prepare for the lesson, cutting into the time of actual learning’” stated Mr. Baker. “Through the AT&T grant, Ryan and Brandon have the tools they need to spend more time with the students doing what they love to do the most: teaching code.”
The students learn not only how to code, but also learn how to problem solve. That’s probably the most important thing we teach. Whether or not they are going to be computer programmers, they’re going to need to know how to problem solve and learn to work in groups. The Coding Connector experience teaches our kids not to be afraid to make mistakes—and to learn how to take a complex problem and break it down into simpler parts. —Brandon Coppernoll
A $30,000 grant from the George and Frances Ball Foundation has also assisted in moving the program forward. The grant money supported the upgrade of a dedicated computer lab within the Innovation Connector facility, along with, the front and back end work of the Innovation Connector team members. Creating flyers, connecting with area schools, social media and other marketing initiatives are just a few of the responsibilities of Alexis Dishman, Administrative Assistant at the IC, that the Foundation grant supports. “The full list of classes is available by clicking on the Coding Connector link at the top of the www.InnovationConnector.com website. “An interested student, parent or teacher can sign up online or simply call the IC to get registered,” said Ms. Dishman.
“Coding Connector classes charge a minimal fee and scholarships are available. It takes time and resources to manage the money- in and money-out of the program,” said Baker of Lori Albert’s responsibilities, Financial Director for the IC. “This program is designed to be sustainable.”
When asked about what he wanted the community to know about the Coding Connector, Ted Baker said, “The classes are designed to be fun.” And feedback from students and parents reflect this program goal.
“The overall idea for this partnership is we want to be on the cutting edge of technology and the development of that type of work in our community,’ continued Baker. “We believe that since this is the language of the next generation, [these coding classes] are imperative for the future of communication. We believe entrepreneurial ecosystems include more than just current businesses, but also future business. The Innovation Connector and Techwise Academy, together with other non-profit agencies and support organizations in our community, are empowering and nurturing the future of this new language.”
Tracy McCormick-Dishman is a local Marketing & Communications Consultant, who writes about her visits to area businesses and agencies. Follow her travels on Facebook, Twitter (#HeyDish) and MuncieJournal.com
Innovation Connector Will Host Entrepreneurial Bootcamp on November 6th
October 23, 2014 – Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector, East Central Indiana’s business Incubator, will host an Entrepreneurial Bootcamp entitled Fingerprints of Innovative Organizations on November 6, 2014. This is a free event and is presented by Launch Indiana SBDC.
Ever wonder how other companies get into the mindset to BE innovative? Is there a mindset? Does the word itself scare you? What does it even mean to your particular industry, anyway? Sometimes, trying to be innovative can feel like a lonely, daunting notion. When heads are down and driving forward, entrepreneurs, in particular, can struggle with finding the time to do something different with a product or process or give an idea or concept a new spin.
On November 6, John Wechsler, entrepreneur and founder of Launch Fishers, will talk about ways to look at your business through the innovator’s lens. John has spent the better part of his career fostering an environment for innovation within his own companies and in partnerships with others. The afternoon will be full of tips and take aways to help you think BIG and focus on “Why not?” instead of “Why?” in your pursuit of being more innovative. We hope you can join us!
Thursday, Nov. 6th
11:30a – 3:30p
Lunch, provided by the Innovation Connector, starts at Noon
Program begins at 1:00pm sharp!
Location: Innovation Connector
Registration: Register Now
September 16, 2013, Muncie, IN – The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has informed the city of Muncie that the Ontario Place Certified Technology Park (CTP) has received Certified Technology Park recertification for another four years. According to a document prepared by Mr. Eric P. Shields, Policy Director for the IEDC, “The IEDC has completed its review of the application submitted. In consideration of the efforts and achievements with the CTP, the IEDC hereby extends the Certified Technology Park status for an additional four year period.”
Ontario Place Certified Technology Park is located in the area near the intersections of White River Blvd. and Jackson Street in Muncie. The Park is home to Ontario Systems Inc., Whitinger & Company LLC, and an office location for IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. In the heart of the Tech Park is the Muncie Innovation Connector, the area’s premier business incubator that is home to over twenty businesses and organizations. In 2012, the businesses located in the Tech Park accounted for over 450 local jobs.
According to Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector, “Recertification of the CTP is instrumental to the continued growth and development of new and existing businesses in the Muncie area. The Innovation Connector serves as the “Gateway to Entrepreneurship” assisting many with business formation.”
August 29, 2013, Muncie, IN – The Muncie Innovation Connector will host a unique event for area businesses to learn more about the opportunities available from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, on Thursday, October 31, 2013. This event will be held at the Innovation Connector from 11:00am-2:30pm and lunch will be served.
To attend this event, reservations are required due to limited seating, but there will be no cost. This workshop will be presented by three representatives from Crane: Brooke Pyne, Reggie Joslin, and John Dement. It will include an overview of the Crane Division, a federal laboratory of the U.S. Department of the Navy in Crane, Indiana. Topics will cover accessing technical assistance and equipment, collaborating with Crane, licensing Navy-developed technology for commercial use, and how a business or educational institution would do any of these.
Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector comments, “This is a great opportunity to learn about one of the true gems located within our state—Crane Naval Base. The three presenters from Crane will share how area businesses and organizations can utilize highly sophisticated Intellectual Property and technologies that have been developed by the U.S. Navy. They will also review how to do business with Crane. This event is an open door for area businesses to access Crane technology. It is an opportunity you do not want to miss.”
Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane holds 140 patents on technology developments, and has filed for some 150 more. Its main technology areas are testing, manufacturing methods, first responder, physical security, small arms and accessories, optics and lasers, pyrotechnics and demolition areas, antennas, sensors, and communication devices, and software.
August 26, 2013 – Muncie, IN – Muncie, Indiana based business incubator, The Innovation Connector, is excited to announce the official launch of its new website (innovationconnector.com). The site introduces a clean, professional look consistent with the IC brand, details the facilities and services it offers, showcases a portfolio of existing clientele, and is built on a content management system to allow for the easy updating of content.
The Innovation Connector website reflects how the organization is a beneficial resource for growing businesses in East Central Indiana. It features an innovative design, subtle attention grabbing page animations, and photography of the facilities and office spaces. The responsive design was incorporated to allow audiences to view content from all platforms – desktops, laptops, tablets, or mobile devices.
“Innovation Connector is a valuable resource for business owners. With this new site, we can promote ourselves while guiding entrepreneurs to success,” stated Ted Baker, Innovation Connector Executive Director.
This site was built by Whitinger Strategic Services, a Muncie-based business development firm which has served as a strategic partner since 2008.
The Innovation Connector is a full service business incubator which exists to help entrepreneurs and new and existing business owners succeed by fostering partnerships of small business owners to resources with the tools and support to address the ever-changing needs of an entrepreneur. The services offered at IC include networking, financial packaging, technical transfer and commercialization, business consulting and coaching services, and patent, trademark, and copyright assistance.
August 19, 2013, Muncie, IN – State Collection Service, Inc. has now located a satellite office in Muncie, IN at the Innovation Connector.
State Collection Service was established in the State of Wisconsin in 1949 by Hilding Haag and has served the collection needs of various sectors since that time. Established as a family business on the foundation of quality client relationships and ethical account collection methods, State Collection Service has developed a reputation for reliability and integrity in the debt collection industry.
Six decades later, State Collection Service is still a family held business and has grown to nearly 300 employees, with branches in Madison, Beloit, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Over the past six decades, State Collection Service has emerged as a leader and innovator in the industry, and has received national recognition for their quality assurance practices, customer service capabilities, and performance standards. They are compliant and authorized to collect in all fifty states, with capabilities to provide exceptional service and performance to clients across every sector of industry.
“We are excited to welcome a family held business like State Collection Service to our offices,” states Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector. “The expertise of the Innovation Connector will assist in the continued growth and development of State Collection Services throughout East Central Indiana.”
Muncie – The ECI Regional Planning District has submitted a joint grant application for $150,000 in financing from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist in developing a plan to address the redevelopment and marketing of defunct automotive manufacturing sites located in Anderson, Muncie, and New Castle. If awarded, each city has promised to pledge an additional $50,000 grant match to assist in addition to providing the necessary resources to see the project through to completion. Several of the sites being targeted by this project are the former BorgWarner, Chevrolet, and Delco Battery plants of Muncie, the Guide Lamp and Delco-Remy plants of Anderson, and the Chrysler related plants in New Castle. The final decision from the EDA on the approval of this grant is expected in early September. More details will be forthcoming.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced that it has worked with 148 companies that have made decisions to expand or establish new business operations in Indiana for a total of more than 11,700 projected new jobs. The new positions, which companies anticipate hiring over the next five years, pay an expected average hourly wage of $21.73, above the state’s current hourly wage of $19.82. Under the IEDC, state incentives are activated only when Hoosiers are hired. Victor Smith, Secretary of Commerce said, “More good news is on the horizon for companies. Following this year’s legislative session, the largest state tax cut in Indiana history was enacted, further distinguishing Indiana as a state that works for business.”
Economic Development Corporation
The Arc of Indiana, a statewide advocacy organization for the people with disabilities, has been working for several months with the City of Muncie and the Horizon Convention Center to build a 125 room hotel and hospitality training center in downtown Muncie. The $20 million project is an Arc of Indiana initiative and calls for around 200 Hoosiers with disabilities to be trained at the hotel each year. The Muncie City Council voted unanimously on August 5 to close High Street between Victor and Seymour streets, as well as a north-south alley between the same streets east of High, where construction of the facilities is planned.