A group of major Indiana players is joining forces to spur rural economic development across the state.
Just 40 minutes south of Bloomington off I-69, Purdue is moving in to operate WestGate, the only multi-county tech park in Indiana.
Chief Entrepreneurial Officer of Purdue’s Research Foundation Daniel Hasler says it’s part of a collaborative effort with WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and others to boost economic activity in a part of the state with a rural population.
“We have the glorious benefit of space, right? We love it,” Hasler says. “But it’s not helpful when it comes to creating tight knit communities that support and encourage one another. That’s what we’re going to learn how to do in this kind of environment.”
Hundreds celebrated the Purdue announcement at the WestGate Academy Training and Conference Center Monday afternoon.
Former Lt. Governor and economic development chair Becky Skillman says successful startup programs mean more jobs.
“If your community or your region or your state, is not providing support to entrepreneurs, then you’re likely to become the least and the last and the lost in job creation efforts,” Skillman says.
Indiana University Assistant Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Kirk White says IU is looking forward to supporting the new partnerships in WestGate tech park.
“We expect to have an IU office at WestGate to enable even closer ties with our colleagues from Purdue and other universities,” White said in an e-mail.
The University of Southern Indiana is also expected to join the partnership.