Photo shows the exterior of Ball State's Fishers Center for Academic and Economic Innovation during a ribbon-cutting.

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[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ISHERS, Indiana — Ball State’s hub of entrepreneurial learning and mentorship in this innovative community officially opened Thursday against a backdrop of bright bows, banners and hopes for a partnership that could spread opportunity across the state.

The celebratory launch of the Ball State Center for Academic and Economic Innovation — Fishers took place in the 52,000-square-foot facility just off 116th Street and I-69, which it aptly shares with Launch Fishers, a co-working space for entrepreneurs.

“We at Ball State are very excited for the future of this facility,” Board of Trustees Chair Rick Hall told civic leaders, local alumni, Ball State administrators and friends of the university. “When you look at how Fishers has been a model of innovation, they are the standard for all other communities.”

He said Ball State’s history offers an almost serendipitous foreshadowing of the future that’s been realized in the Fishers Center. “We have a deep tradition of philanthropy and entrepreneurialism,” Hall said. “Just look to our founding by the Ball brothers.”

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said his city was “fortunate to find a very unique partner in Ball State.”

The Fishers Center, coupled with Launch Fishers, will “spread entrepreneurial opportunity, to repopulate wealth in the state,” he said. “I’m optimistic and eager to see the fruits of your labor.”

Jennifer Bott, dean of the Miller College of Business, said the Fishers Center provides what she called “bi-directional mentorships,” meaning students offer energy and new ideas to successful entrepreneurs, while those business owners offer critical life skills related to managing the risks, challenges and rewards of developing a start-up venture.

“We are so grateful to be your partner in creating this ecosystem of learning and growing.”

Bott also announced that beginning next summer, Ball State will partner with Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Fishers to offer a dual-credit class to high schoolers in the district interested in entrepreneurial education.

Those classes will be at the Fishers Center.

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