T.H.I.S. Event to Feature Member Companies of Launch Terre Haute

Nearly a year has passed since my co-founders and I took a leap of faith and signed the lease on the new space for Launch Terre Haute.  Juggling jobs and families, we spent hours during the busy month of December cleaning, assembling furniture, and organizing our new co-work space to perpetuate our dream of building a community of talented individuals that would have a place to work and collaborate.  Why, you ask?  Because our world is changing, and if you don’t adapt, you will die. There is an economic paradigm shift happening and co-working spaces are planted solidly in the middle of it.  Large corporations and businesses have dominated our economy in recent years, but many have become slow to adapt and invariably, service levels drop and prices go up.  And who pays for it?  The end consumer. But thanks to the amount of information available, the end consumer is smarter and more resourceful than ever. The rate of change in technology is affecting the way we produce and consume everything.  In the service sector for example, talented people are better able to work independently, have their brand noticed on the Internet, and reach the end consumer quickly and easily.  Whether you’re an architect, accountant, graphic artist, web developer, coder, or writer, you can deliver your talent to the end consumer at a market price that’s valued appropriately.

And these talented freelancers and independents need a place to work efficiently.  In recent years, all the cool kids were working and meeting clients at local coffee shops, but sometimes that can be like working in the middle of a traveling circus. You put your earbuds in to block out the aural insanity happening around you and retreat to your own personal work haven. Enter the co-work space and the reason for its existence. SERENDIPITOUS COLLISION. Put talented, forward thinking, and like-minded people in an open and inviting workspace and it’s like lighting the fuse on an explosion of ideas. Everyone has ideas, but further resources are needed to turn ideas into something meaningful. Let’s be clear…we are not a turnkey solution to take a startup business from a concept to a global enterprise.  But we have made strides in identifying resources for people with innovative ideas, and have positioned ourselves as a focal point for nurturing entrepreneurship.  In other words, we have done the work over the last 2 years building a local ecosystem that feeds entrepreneurship and we’ve only just begun.


At Launch Terre Haute, we’re guilty of being hyper-focused on the future and finding a way to become woven into the fabric of local economic growth.  It’s when we recently had a moment to take stock of what has actually happened in our co-work space over the course of the last year that we realized what a cool community of members we have built.  We think it’s appropriate to showcase some of our members and the projects they are working on, so we’re hosting out first “THIS Event” (THIS-Terre Haute Innovation Showcase) on November 17th.  The serendipitous collisions I spoke of earlier have led to the birth of some new companies and helped other Launch members expand the scope of their business. We’re also thankful for the many local companies that believe what we’re doing is vital to the growth of our local economy and have supported our initiative through sponsorship and program funding.  On this day, we will honor one of our biggest supporters, Vectren Energy, by dedicating and naming our conference room the “Vectren Energy Conference Room” at 5:30pm. We hope you can join us for some light refreshments from 4pm-7pm during this open house style event and see what our member companies are working on. The seeds are planted, and we can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

Posted on November 11, 2016 .

Food truck with a twist: ISU students create mobile food business for Terre Haute

A food truck with a twist! That’s the goal for one new business start-up in downtown Terre Haute.

The creators are three Indiana State University students. each bringing ideas to the table to eventually share with the entire community of late night and early morning eaters.

Check out the full story here: http://wthitv.com/2016/07/13/food-truck-with-a-twist-isu-students-create-mobile-food-business-for-terre-haute/

Posted on August 8, 2016 .

Coding camp provides skills for students of all ages More than 350 VCSC students participate

During a recent, week-long “cool coding” camp, more than 350 Vigo County School Corp. students received an introduction to a skill set that could open the door to good-paying technology jobs in the future.

Coding involves providing instructions to a computer, said Shelley Klingerman, executive director of Launch Terre Haute. In the past, it’s been called computer programming.

Eleven Fifty Academy, a nonprofit organization that provides instruction on coding, and TechPoint Foundation For Youth, conducted a “Cool Coding Awareness Week” in Terre Haute the week of June 6.

“We were hoping for 60 to 70 kids to register for the camp, and we ended up having more than 350 attend over the week,” Klingerman said. Different sessions took place for those in elementary, middle and high school at Terre Haute North Vigo High School.

Each session was 2 to 2 1/2 hours for one day; some kids came the first day and asked to come back the following day to do it again, Klingerman said. The “Hour of Code,” a camp for second- through fifth-graders, had the most interest.

The week-long camp was free to students, the result of a grant that Launch Terre Haute applied for and received from Old National Bank Foundation. Other partners were the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Terre Haute Savings Bank, AT&T and Vectren.

Stephanie Castleman, Eleven Fifty Academy director of outreach, said the future job potential for those skilled in coding is limitless. “Right now, nationwide, we are facing a skills gap as far as coding and jobs in information technology or computer science,” she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer/information technology jobs available, with a skilled workforce of only 400,000 to fill them.

Eleven Fifty Academy has created a comprehensive education program that starts with a week-long blitz called Cool Coding Awareness Week, which delivers age-appropriate content to students from kindergarten through 12th grade and extends to interested members of the community.

For students in grades K/1, an ABC book that introduces children to some of the basic coding terms is provided to the school district.

The week’s activities also included an Intro to Coding class for those ages 16 and older, which involved two days of instruction — eight hours per day.

By starting when students are young, the goal is to “create a hub of coding talent in Indiana,” Castleman said.

For high school graduates unable to immediately attend colleges, at the Eleven Fifty Academy, “we can get them job ready within 21 weeks” and prepared for jobs that could potentially pay $50,000 and higher, Castleman said. “They can always go back to school and take classes as they can afford them.”

While the week-long camp has ended, efforts to grow interest in coding isn’t. TechPoint Foundation For Youth — or TPF4Y — establishes a “CoderDojo” coding club in each community where the coding camp is offered. It is for students ages 7 to 17, and students learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology.

The club is expected to begin in the fall, Klingerman said.


Posted on June 24, 2016 .

Bucshon Comes to Terre Haute

Check the story: U.S Congressman Larry Bucshon spoke with folks at Launch Terre Haute to give insight on how co-work spaces are sweeping the state in regional economic development system.



Posted on June 2, 2016 .

AT&T simulator provides realistic, deadly examples of distracted driving

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the late David Hughes.

Virtually speaking, thankfully.

On Friday afternoon in the Launch Terre Haute office, I couldn’t resist trying out the AT&T “It Can Wait” Virtual Reality Simulator, which tests drivers’ reactions to the distractions of smartphones.

This was one of 100 stops across the eastern half of the United States for this simulator in 2016. Next stop for the AT&T simulator tour will be Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday. Its previous stop before Terre Haute was St. Charles, Mo., on Thursday.

Several — including Mayor Duke Bennett — tried their luck during its five hours of availability Friday.

When my turn came for the 90-second test, I strapped the goggles around my head and selected my age group (56-65) before I “virtually” backed out of a driveway.

The simulator had me approach a crossing area for a couple of school children with a guard holding a red “Stop” sign. I actually stopped.

So far, so good.

I turned left after the children crossed the street. Then came the smartphone distractions, which most of us face on a daily basis. I glanced down to read a text someone had sent me and I barely avoided striking some bicyclists crossing a street. They looked back at me as if I were a jerk for almost hitting them.

Suddenly, the simulator transported me to a highway setting.

Don’t look at your phone, David! Don’t look!

Too late.

The simulator made me do it. Of course, I barely missed rear-ending a pickup truck that had slowed down in front of me.

Seconds later, the simulator put me in a two-lane exit where I almost sideswiped a car while I checked my stupid phone again.

About this time, I started guessing the test would end tragically.

The simulator then dropped me into a city traffic scenario — resembling Indianapolis in the daytime, I thought — and naturally I almost rear-ended another car while checking a text on my phone.

Can I throw my phone out the window yet? Nope, the simulator wouldn’t let me.

Next I almost ran over a man rolling a baby stroller across a street. Someone stop me! I’m a monster!

Someone stopped me all right.

One final glance at my phone caused me to get T-boned by a red car, smashing my windshield and killing me instantly.

The simulator showed my rising out-of-body view of the violent crash and nearby gawkers as I hovered upward, presumably toward heaven.

Not too pleasant, I admitted to the simulator workers. It also felt realistic, which I’m sure is the goal of the simulator.

When driving my real car in the real world, I’d like to think I’m not the worst person about doing stuff on my phone. What I am occasionally guilty of, however, is looking down to see if an important text came back from someone I contacted for a story. Newspaper deadlines come faster than most people realize, and busy sources return calls or texts only once, so I don’t want to miss interview opportunities.

But can it wait? Yes, absolutely. If I’m so worried about someone calling or texting me back, I can pull over to a parking lot if I need to check immediately.

Others who took the test Friday agreed.

Hilary Horrey, who lives in Bloomington and commutes to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for work regularly, decided to stop in Launch Terre Haute on her lunch break to see how the simulator might help her become a more alert driver.

“The way that it was presented was very realistic, so it made it more of an educational experience,” said Horrey, who acknowledged that she occasionally looks at texts while driving in real life.

And what happened to the distracted Horrey at the end of her simulated test?

“Oh, I died,” she said, adding that she thinks this will impact how carefully she drives in the future.

Pepper Mulherin, director of external affairs for AT&T Indiana, said the simulator was popular with adults and teenagers during the morning hours Friday, but it became easier to access in the afternoon.

“Everyone who has experienced [the simulator] unanimously agreed that it’s very realistic,” Mulherin told the Tribune-Star. “This is a very sophisticated virtual reality opportunity to experience distracted driving in a safe environment.”

Also on hand Friday was 21-year-old Indy Lights driver Zach Veach, who’s previously tested the AT&T simulator. A professional driver for the past six years, he signed autographs while visitors waited to use it.

“Unfortunately, distracted driving is one of these things where it takes someone being involved in an accident to realize how dangerous it actually is,” he pointed out. “So for a simulator to come in and kinda give people an idea of how dangerous it can be — with no real consequences — it’s good for them to understand what’s at risk and for them to take that back to their peers.”

Veach offered one more piece of advice for motorists.

“We can easily stop it by putting our phones down,” he emphasized.

David Hughes can be reached at 812-231-4224 or at david.hughes@tribstar.com. Follow David on Twitter @ TribStarDavid.

Posted on February 29, 2016 .

Launch TH to host networking session

Launch Indiana, a program for increasing the number of innovation driven startups in Indiana, plans to conduct an exercise to map the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Wabash Valley.

This information will be compiled into an active statewide website that will allow aspiring entrepreneurs to more easily navigate the ecosystem and visually see what assets are available to them.

Initial results of the exercise will be shared at a reception at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Launch Terre Haute.

Hear how our community is working with state and local entities to collaborate and create a local entrepreneurial ecosystem based on Victor Hwang’s “The Rainforest.”

Representatives from state and local entities plan to provide updates on what their organizations are doing to strategically position the State of Indiana and the Wabash Valley as a startup-friendly state/region.

During their stop in the Wabash Valley they will share preliminary results of a statewide entrepreneurial mapping exercise that includes our community. In addition, there will be a small media team from Inside Indiana at the event. Light refreshments will be provided. The tentative agenda is as follows:

5 to 5:30 p.m.: Networking

5:30 to 5:35 p.m.: Welcome; Shelley Klingerman, Launch Terre Haute

5:35 to 5:40 p.m.: City of Terre Haute, Mayor Bennett

5:40 to 5:45 p.m.: Vigo County Council- Rick Burger

5:45 to 5:50 p.m.: Terre Haute EDC- Steve Witt

5:50 to 5:55 p.m.: Terre Haute Chamber- David Haynes

5:55 to 6:05 p.m.: Launch IN- Jason Whitney/Jacob Schpok

6:05 to 6:20 p.m.: Rainforest Concept- John Wechsler

6:20 p.m.: Wrap-up

If you have any questions about the event, contact shelley@launchterrehaute.com

Posted on February 29, 2016 .