Indiana Daily Student

InVenture supports Indiana small businesses

InVenture, a joint endeavor between IU and Bloomington, recently celebrated the end of its first year helping University-related, technology-based businesses take off.\nInVenture, located in the IU Research Park in downtown Bloomington, has a mission to provide entrepreneurs with business support, to provide a professional facility and to initiate a business venture with limited financial exposure, according to the inVenture Web site.\nMike Von Foerster owns RightRez, a company that makes travel industry software He graduated from IU in 1977 with degrees in political science and history.\n"I realized that it is not easy to get a job with a liberal arts degree," Von Foerster said. \nVon Foerster said he met a professor while working as a waiter and was persuaded to return to school and earn his master's degree in computer science from Western Illinois University. \nHe said he worked at many different jobs before being laid off and returning to Bloomington. While in Bloomington, he worked at a software-based business until it closed. After it closed, he bought the business and started RightRez.\n"I worked out of my house with another guy," Von Foerster said. "We were awarded a deal with Holland America Cruise Lines, which is one of our clients, and I told my wife I needed to hire someone else. She said I was not going to bring anyone else in the house."\nVon Foerster said he started looking for office space and found inVenture, which he was excited to find out provided more than just office space.\n"Even if you're not a business major, they will help you with accounting and payroll," he said. "You know your idea and you're good at it, but you might not know the employment laws."\nIt is easy to start a business right away, Von Foerster said. There is no need to worry about getting phones and Internet installed in your office. He said you can just start working.\nInVenture continues to help RightRez expand, a partnership that has lasted for more than a year. Von Foerster said inVenture offers his business a variety of services. \n"InVenture provides infrastructure facilities, which consists of great office space, networking and phone systems," he said. "They provide access to training classes, business planning and help with accounting."\nVon Foerster said when RightRez started its partnership with inVenture, it employed two people. RightRez now consists of 10 people and has outgrown its initial office space. He said RightRez is looking to hire more people.\n"I have been exposed to lots of things and met a lot of people that most small business owners would not be able to be exposed to," Von Foerster said. \nBrian Kleber, director of inVenture, said inVenture tenants pay rent below the market rate and are provided with additional services. Tenants have access to Internet service, phone systems and business advice.\nKleber said inVenture has seven tenants who all have a relationship with IU. The tenants are either IU graduates, staff or have a business that relies on research taking place at IU. He said he hopes the number of tenants will grow to 14 by next year.\n"We want to create jobs," Kleber said. "We're providing an opportunity for people in Bloomington to have good paying jobs."\nKleber said people who want to become a tenant with inVenture should fill out an application, which is located on its Web site, He said applicants are considered based on whether or not they are a technology-based business, whether or not inVenture thinks it can help the company and if space is available.\nLynn Coyne, IU assistant vice president for administration and liaison with inVenture, said IU provides inVenture with space for its tenants.\n"We have a partnership with inVenture that will help businesses that use technology or life science technology," Coyne said. "Our resources help develop small business communities."\nInVenture is a partnership between IU, the Small Business Development Center, Bloomington, the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, according to inVenture's Web site.

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