Add a full-service hotel inside the airport
Tim Osmulski, director of supply chain at The Raymond Corp., says Indianapolis International Airport needs a full-service hotel—or hotels—inside the airport itself. Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Orlando and other major cities have hotels inside their airports, which is convenient for business leaders. “I have flown into these airports, attended a meeting, had a business dinner, stayed overnight and never left the airport,” Osmulski writes. “With the central location of Indianapolis, it would be ideal for a one-day fly-in meeting.” Hotels a mile from the terminal, he says, just don’t cut it.
Develop a ‘research triangle’ with Indy, West Lafayette and Bloomington
Central Indiana should harness the power of its three research centers—Indiana University in Bloomington, IUPUI in Indianapolis and Purdue University in West Lafayette—to create the Hoosier version of North Carolina’s “Research Triangle.” The North Carolina park is some 7,000 acres of land that is home to 300 companies with more than 50,000 employees. Jane Lommel, a community volunteer, proposes creating an institute within Indianapolis to pull the research and commercialization work of all three institutions together. She proposes the center be funded largely with donations and grants from private and not-for-profit sources to ensure maximum innovation and independence.
Turn Old City Hall into a B2B tech hub
Indianapolis needs a home for entrepreneurship and technology that is not just another “coworking space,” writes Peter SerVaas, co-founder and president of DoubleMap. “This would give the community an architectural gem as a location for startups and founders to explore ideas, build solutions, launch products, and grow businesses and would attract more talented people back” to Indianapolis, SerVaas writes. He wants to model the tech hub on 1871, a Chicago technology and entrepreneurship center, and Atlanta Tech Village, where more than 300 companies have gotten their start. “They create thousands of jobs and fuel Atlanta’s rise to a top-five tech-startup center in the United States,” SerVaas says, “while Chicago is making a real impact on the world’s technological landscape through 1871 Chicago. It is a home to 1,000-plus inventors, designers, creators, and doers that are building better, faster, cleaner solutions to everyday problems as they innovate for the future.”
Create a shipping container retail village
Shipping containers are being used as an alternative means for providing inexpensive and flexible storefronts and shops in U.S. communities and in other parts of the world. The containers can be used to test retail concepts, for holiday or festival pop-up shops or to encourage growth in targeted areas. “The structures provide a unique architectural look and flexibility” for shops and businesses, writes Jim Barber, operations manager at Barth Electric. “The villages could be put in areas that are upcoming to encourage growth.” The containers could be moved to places where they’re needed and could be made available for free or at low costs initially, with rents increasing over time. Barber suggests the containers and container villages could also be used for art galleries and shops.
Create a center for entrepreneurship
Tony Johnson, a field account executive at HP, says Indianapolis needs to create a place where budding entrepreneurs can come to get free advice, training and information as well as find mentors to help them on the road to success. In return for free assistance, the entrepreneurs would provide sweat equity for beautification projects in the city. “This idea might help to spur local business growth, employment and drive new products/business solutions coming out of Indiana,” Johnson writes.•