Spark I(o)T Muncie

Intro to Electronics

Spark IT Summer 2021 Recap!

An End to the Xtern Program 2021

3D Printing Workshops

Tech Spark Weekend

We’re Hiring a Hospitality & Concierge Specialist

We’re searching for the right person to join our dynamic team! Could it be you?

Job Title-Hospitality & Concierge Specialist

Wage-$12.00 an hour

Hours of Work-20 hours per week, hours flexible depending on event schedule

Main Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Greeting and assisting guests and clients at the front desk
  • Coordinating groups and events as needed
  • Common area oversight of the facility
  • Other miscellaneous administrative duties

Apply Here: https://forms.gle/5zKfzmYM1hwu2jrJA

Innovation Connector Announces First Associate Director

The Innovation Connector is pleased to announce the promotion of Carter Anderson to Associate Director.

Anderson will serve as the first Associate Director at the Innovation Connector. In this new role, he will manage facilities, operations, and specific programming for the center.

 

“The Innovation Connector is thrilled to have Carter on our team to serve in this new capacity. Creating this position is a major step forward as we continue to grow our service offerings for entrepreneurs and businesses in East Central Indiana,” stated CEO/Executive Director of the Innovation Connector, Ted Baker.

 

Anderson has already shown that entrepreneurism plays a large role in his life. During high school, Carter began his entrepreneurial journey by starting and running his own landscaping company. After graduating from Delta High School, he enrolled in Ball State University’s nationally ranked entrepreneurship program. During his time in college, he immersed himself into learning all he could about the business development process by serving as a student assistant in both the President’s Office and the Office of Business Affairs at Ball State University. In 2019, Carter placed 3rd at the Innovation Connector’s BIG Idea Pitch for another business idea – FamLeo.

 

In the fall of 2020, Carter began working at the Innovation Connector as the Innovation Specialist where he helped design, develop, and implement strategic entrepreneurial programs for clients of the Innovation Connector.

“Since Carter was hired in August 2020, his impact at the Innovation Connector has been remarkable. As Associate Director, Carter will lead several valuable initiatives for our clients. I look forward to seeing what he will accomplish as he serves our community,” Baker commented

 

As a Muncie native, Carter is familiar with the community’s economic challenges as well as its successes, and he understands the impact of bringing new ideas and resources to entrepreneurs that will help our community flourish.

 

Anderson will graduate this spring from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management. When he is not running his own business, pursuing his degree, or working at the Innovation Connector, he can be found enjoying time with his wife Stella and participating in just about anything involving sports.

 

Congratulate Carter by sending him an email. CAnderson@innovationconnector.com

Tech Talk: CTPs Deserve Additional Support

The program responsible for Certified Technology Parks (CTPs) in Indiana was created as a tool to “support the attraction and growth of high-technology businesses and promote technology transfer opportunities,” according to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

CTPs are the product of local redevelopment departments, which are established to improve certain – sometimes blighted or underutilized – areas of the community. The redevelopment commission, which governs the department, applies to the IEDC seeking a CTP designation for all or part of the territory within its jurisdiction.

Designation as a CTP allows for the local recapture of certain state and local tax revenue which can be invested in the development of the park. Specifically, CTPs may capture a maximum of $5 million over the life of the park in incremental sales and income taxes. Those that hit their lifetime cap are eligible to capture an additional $100,000 annually in incremental income tax revenue as long as it maintains its certification with the IEDC.

Another distinction is that CTPs are anchored by at least one business engaged in “high-technology activity” that will create a significant number of jobs. This includes, for example, advanced computing, biotechnology, medical device technology and advanced vehicle technology, among others. (See IC 36-7-32-7)

This year, Senate Bill 213 seeks to increase the annual post-cap capture to $250,000 for CTPs by addressing a concern (one that has been the death knell for similar attempts in previous sessions) raised by members of the House of Representatives: What happens when a CTP evolves into a general business incubator rather than a hotbed for high-tech innovation?

Admittedly, this happens. CTPs, through their own success, cultivate high-technology businesses to the point they “graduate” from the CTP and move into another, larger space in the community. In need of backfilling the empty CTP space, they negotiate a lease – sometimes with a new, albeit non-high-tech tenant. After five to 10 years, the CTP may no longer have an anchoring business engaged in “high-technology activity.”

In short, SB 213 says that (i) once the CTP reaches the $5 million lifetime cap, it must be recertified by the IEDC, (ii) the IEDC evaluates the CTP to determine if it still meets the statutory requirements for CTP designation, (iii) if so, then the CTP will be considered a “Level 2 CTP” and eligible for the additional recapture; if not, then it is designated a “Level 1 CTP,” which means that it may maintain the CTP label but must come into compliance with the statute before being eligible for the additional recapture and/or risks losing the CTP label all together.

We are hopeful that these changes to the statute will resonate with the decision-makers in the Indiana House, specifically those on the Ways and Means Committee who must agree to hear the bill. CTPs are a success story in Indiana that have bolstered communities throughout the state and cultivate a spirit of STEM entrepreneurship.

But they have a unique business model: a successful CTP risks losing high-paying tenants and therefore revenue. As such, time has come to support these hubs of high-tech innovation by rewarding those CTPs that the IEDC determines are “good actors” – especially as most, if not all, CTPs are near the $5 million cap and will struggle to exist without additional state support.

Adam H. Berry | aberry@indianachamber.com | (317) 264-6892

This story was originally posted on www.indianachamber.com 

The BIG Idea Pitch – Becoming an Entrepreneur at Six Years Old

Six-year-old Muncie resident Kai Markelz is launching his first business this holiday season after pitching his idea at the Innovation Connector’s annual BIG Idea Pitch Competition and earning 1st place.

 

When Lindsey and Andy Markelz pitched their business in the 2018 BIG Idea Pitch Competition, they were very passionate about making this a family event and included their children, Kai (then 4) and Tiana (2), in the ideation and planning process. Kai observed his parents’ excitement for their invention and tried very hard to identify a problem so that he could find a solution.

 

One day, after a bath, Kai hurried to his mother, eyes wide, “I have a good invention!” he announced. Accustomed by this point to patiently listening to his ideas, Lindsey anticipated the need to let him down easily again, but this time was different. Kai was frustrated during hair washing in the bath because soap and water would end up in his eyes.  He thought a pair of strapless goggles would keep his eyes tear-free. He worked on some sketches, deciding that animal designs would make them fun for kids.

 

“Kai liked the idea of inventing something and kept trying to identify problems and solutions. I remember how excited he was when he realized that he had identified a real problem and a viable solution because he was always so frustrated during hair washing. Looking back, it’s one of those ideas that makes you ask, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?'” Lindsey shared.

 

Kai worked with his parents to prepare for the 2020 BIG Idea Pitch, presenting “Froggles.” On the night of the big competition, Kai was calm, joking that his mom was more nervous than he was (she agreed), with his nerves ramping up only after walking into a room of adults and waiting to begin his pitch. After delivering their three-minute pitch, the mother-son team met some of the other local entrepreneurs and waited for the results. As the announcements started with fifth place and going to first, Kai rode the waves of hopefulness and concern as the prize pool narrowed. Ultimately 1st place was announced, and Kai moved with reserved excitement to the front of the room to claim his baseball bat trophy, which is now mounted in his bedroom.

 

“Of course, we’re excited that Kai came up with this idea and won, but we’re also thankful for the opportunity for him to focus on a goal and to put the hard work into preparing and practicing that ultimately paid off. The life lessons that he will carry forward are invaluable.” Lindsey and Andy Markelz said when asked about Kai’s invention.

 

Winning 1st place at the Innovation Connector’s BIG Idea Pitch Competition includes a prize package with an abundance of business services. With Innovation Connector partners’ services, Kai and his family can take his idea to the next level by launching an online store with Oggles 1.0 in three kid-friendly designs. Customers can now purchase Froggles, Doggles, and Unicoggles at myoggles.myshopify.com