Bloomington named Rising Tech City during TechPoint’s 22nd annual Mira Awards gala
TechPoint, the nonprofit, industry-led growth initiative for Indiana’s technology ecosystem, will recognize the City of Bloomington with a prestigious Rising Tech City Award during the 22nd annual Mira Awards gala on Thursday, April 22, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT. The awards are being held virtually again this year due to the pandemic and the public may watch the live broadcast for free online at https://techpoint.org/riseup.
The Mira Awards—with presenting sponsor Salesforce—celebrate the best of tech in Indiana each year, including people, products, companies and places. The Rising Tech City award honors a city, town, region or community within the state of Indiana and celebrates the projects and the people behind them who have championed the location’s advancement and tech friendliness. The emphasis is on developing compelling places where diverse, tech-skilled people want to live.
While economies were contracting worldwide due to the pandemic, and most municipalities were focused solely on fortifying what they could to prevent losses, Bloomington’s economic development partners were fearlessly investing in tech community building and attracting funding sources for driving new economic activity. What Bloomington accomplished in 2020 would have been noteworthy in any year, but it’s particularly impressive given the challenges and complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bloomington’s thriving tech culture grows from a deep partnership between The Mill, the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), Indiana University, the City of Bloomington, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI), and members of Bloomington’s already vibrant tech community. Bloomington is a commercial and cultural center within the 11-county Indiana Uplands region, whose economy is driven by life sciences, manufacturing, defense, and higher education with noteworthy growth in the tech sector.
“The steps Bloomington began taking in 2005 by establishing its Trades District Certified Tech Park hit a tipping point in 2020 during the nation’s moment of economic crisis,” said Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint. “Instead of shrinking away from new projects, Bloomington’s tech partners rededicated themselves to the South Central Indiana region and its established initiatives, launched critically important new ones, and worked to support the businesses that make it such an exciting time for tech in Bloomington.”
The Mill—a Bloomington coworking and entrepreneurship nonprofit with 255 individual members and 38 companies—is the hub of the city’s tech and entrepreneurship community located in the Trades District. The Mill has become the real connective tissue for the start-up community through programming, networking and a corridor to angel, seed-stage and venture funding.
In 2020, officials announced plans for several new capital investment developments in the Trades District including the application to fund the Trades District Technology Center (TDTC), the Trades District parking garage (opens April 17), and the Kiln Collective’s development of new office and commercial building space next door to The Mill.
Of note, the Velocities entrepreneurial initiative—a partnership between Elevate Ventures, Dimension Mill and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce—invested more than $1 million in 20 Bloomington-based startups. Those 20 startups leveraged an additional $7.09 million in new investments to fuel their growth. The IU Angel Network also invested in Bloomington start-ups to the tune of $502,500.
Additionally, because the City of Bloomington believes that public art supports economic development, it has committed nearly $200,000 to two major Trades District art projects—”OT987” by Stefan Reiss and “Aurora Almanac” by Esteban Garcia.
Previous winners of the Rising Tech City Award include the City of Fishers and the Fort Ben Tech Campus and City of Lawrence.
During the gala on April 22, TechPoint will present 15 additional awards for companies and individuals including two Pandemic Pivot of the Year awards, Community Impact Award, Tech Education Award, Exceptional Employer Award, Rising Entrepreneur Award, Tech Product of the Year, Innovation of the Year, Service Partner of the Year, Large Enterprise of the Year, Investor of the Year, Startup of the Year, Scale-up of the Year, the TechPoint Foundation for Youth’s Bridge Builder Award and TechPoint’s Trailblazer Award.
Visit https://techpoint.org/riseup for more information and to watch the virtual Mira Awards gala live broadcast on April 22, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.