INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A new initiative will officially launch this week on Indianapolis’ far south side, with the goal of spurring economic development.

It’s called the Southside Business Initiative, which is now located on South Madison Avenue, just north of Southport Road.

It’s a co-working space, designed similarly to the other co-working spaces popping up across central Indiana, like Launch Fishers or another one in Zionsville called zWorks.

There are work spaces, high-speed Internet, a kitchen area, and a conference room.

They say members will pay a fee to join, and will have access to the facility, the Indiana Co-Working Passport, and programming with business advisors.

“We looked at the landscape of where the other co-working spaces are, and the nearest one to our north is Fountain Square. The nearest one to the south is Columbus, Indiana, and we thought there was a gap we wanted to fill. Frankly, we wanted to beat Greenwood to the punch,” said Steve Battiato, Advisory Board Chair for the Southside Business Initiative.

Battiato says this is not only about entrepreneurs using the space to launch a new business, but also about growing a business and networking if you’re currently working out of your home.

“We really want our environment to represent the personality of the Southport area, Perry Township, the south side of Indianapolis. We’re hoping we have entrepreneurs and business start-ups that will be a part of our initiative. We also hope those folks that have been working in their homes, whether they’re plumbers, carpenters, accountants, or attorneys, will find this space valuable from a networking perspective, and also growing their business and getting out of home offices into a more business-type environment,” said Battiato, who started his own business several years ago, and says he would have liked to use this type of space.

They say they’re hoping this could jump-start business in the area, as they’ve seen a number of businesses leave the area in the past decade.

“We want kids to come out of high school, or college, and feel like they can start a viable, successful, long-term business here on the south side. So, we hope this is the beginning of those opportunities for folks in our community,” said Battiato.

Their goal is to have 50 members in the first year.

The Southside Business Initiative will host a ribbon-cutting this Thursday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m.

The new facility is located at 6825 South Madison Avenue, Suite B.

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