Students work with local business incubator

The Daily News

A team of seven Ball State students in conjunction with Innovation Connector, the local business incubator in Muncie, will launch an event Thursday in an effort to provide small business owners and leaders with an organization that can assist them. 

From 5:30-6:30 p.m. at IC’s office, 1208 W. White River Blvd., small business owners and leaders will listen to a facilitator discuss IC and how it can benefit the small business community as well as interact among each other.  

The students have been part of a year-long immersive learning project through Building Better Communities. Team members are BBC fellows and IC ambassadors. 

“It’s kind of our first presentation on what our initiative is so we really want to make an impact and show small business owners that this is going to work,” Ashley Noga, a junior public relations major said. “This is going to motivate them and get them to connect with each other and work together.”

The Innovation Connector is aimed at helping small businesses when they’re starting up with financial issues or have concerns. Resource agents will be there such as the Business Growth Council and the Small Business Development Center.

“Business owners and leaders in the community should attend our event to learn about our new initiatives because we’ve done a lot of research and had a lot of community conversation with small business owners,” Amy Fusco, a graduate student involved with IC said. “ We want a really open, trustworthy environment for the business owners to learn from each other and coming to the event will teach everyone what IC is and connect them with others.”

The current economic climate of Delaware County is an important topic the students have focused on throughout the year as that factor affects small business owners.

“It’s similar to any small city across America,” Fusco said. “A lot of people have been struggling because of the recession that has been happening.”

The students have networked with more than 200 small business owners in the county since the project began. In the Fall Semester, the students mostly researched and held focus groups with small business owners, Noga said. 

The focus groups helped students gain perspective on the struggles and challenges business owners have faced and with what more they need help.

One of the goals of Thursday’s event is to get excitement passed into the community about IC as well as business owners working together and what it means for the community. 

“I think it’s important to get the community excited about what we’ve created,” Megan Bousley, a sophomore public relations major said said. “We’re excited about it. It’s been with us a whole year but we need to make sure what we’ve created works.”

Learning has been a strong outcome of the BBC project for the students and planning for the Thursday night event to bring owners together. 

“I definitely learned a lot about small businesses in Muncie as a community,” Bousley said. “I went into the project not having a lot of knowledge in that area, which concerned me a little at the beginning. We are definitely learning about business in a way you can’t learn about it in the classroom.”


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