Be Nimble Foundation will take over a downtown event space during NBA All-Star Weekend to create a tech and entertainment hub known as Black Future Haus.
With leaders of Black culture, media, sports and tech headed to Indianapolis for All-Star festivities, Be Nimble Foundation co-founder Jeff Williams said the time is right to bring those interests together.
Black Future Haus, scheduled for Feb. 14-18 at Cinderwood event venue, 601 S. Meridian St., will provide an All-Star home to HBCUvc, a San Francisco-based not-for-profit that advises college students on tech entrepreneurship, and Indianapolis dance party Songs for You among a roster of local and national participants.
“We took it upon ourselves to create a place where conversations beyond just the social nightlife could actually come to light and give our community exposure and access to the people who are in town and experts in this space,” Williams said.
Cinderwood is an 11,000-square-foot event venue on the fourth floor of Union 601, an office building that’s part of the Union Campus—which includes the renovated Brougher Building at 525 S. Meridian St. The campus is just a few blocks from both Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the NBA All-Star Game will be played, and Lucas Oil Stadium, where other All-Star events are planned.
Not-for-profit Be Nimble—which oversees several accelerators, including Melon Kitchen at AMP food hall in the 16 Tech Innovation District, as well as pitch events and an annual Black Innovation Week—announced its Black Future Haus plans on Monday.
Also on Monday, nostalgia-themed sportswear company Mitchell & Ness and athletic performance apparel company Under Armour announced pop-up shops in Circle Centre Mall during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Beginning Feb. 14, Mitchell & Ness and Under Armour will operate locations on the mall’s second floor along with a pop-up from Indianapolis-based Cargo Streetwear.
The Ruffles potato chip brand, sponsor of the Feb. 16 celebrity basketball game at Lucas Oil Stadium, will have a presence at streetwear shop Nap or Nothing, 525 Massachusetts Ave. The celebrity game will feature a “4-point” distance billed as the Ruffles Ridgeline, which will be replicated at Nap or Nothing for visitors who want to attempt a long shot.
Black Future Haus will host a mix of invite-only, ticketed and free events, Williams said.
“We’re not necessarily trying to be everything to everyone,” he said. “We want folks to be able to fully experience the city’s entire weekend of events. But it was important for us to provide complementary content that enhances in places where we are connected nationally as well as locally.”
Michigan-based Midwest House, which describes itself as “an experiential embassy of the Midwest,” will be part of Black Future Haus, along with New York-based “Hard 2 Earn” cultural critics Torae Carr and Bonsu Thompson, plus Indianapolis-based DJ Space Bunz.
Be Nimble collaborated with Sixty8 Capital, led by Be Nimble co-founder Kelli Jones, Elevate Ventures and Pacers Sports & Entertainment to host the All-Star Pitch Competition. The finale of the pitch competition, which will award $150,000 in cash grants, is set for Feb. 17 at the Indiana Convention Center.
The contest was open to startups led by women and/or those led by someone who is Black, indigenous or a person of color.
“Our work is deeply rooted in advancing our community through access to capital and various resources for workplace development as well as entrepreneurship for things that are going to be prevalent in the future,” Williams said.
For information on how to attend Black Future Haus, visit blackfuturehaus.com.•