Kendallville gets $25,000 T-Mobile grant to develop co-working space | News Sun
KENDALLVILLE – Kendallville is getting a boost in an effort to develop a co-working space for startups and entrepreneurs with T-Mobile granting $25,000 for such a project.
It is the first community in Indiana to receive a hometown grant from the major mobile communications provider since it launched its rural development program.
The award was announced in a small event held Friday afternoon at Hosler Realty, with Joe DeCraene, Northeast Indiana T-Mobile Regional Representative, presenting the large check to Historic Downtown Kendallville in partnership with SCORE and the Noble County Economic Development Corp. ., Be noble.
“Hometown Grants began in the spring of 2021 to help rural America,” said DeCraene. “We want to be part of your community and help the small towns flourish.”
Not only does T-Mobile provide cell phone service and data across the US as one of the big three mobile telecom providers, it also recently launched T-Mobile 5G Internet, bringing broadband-level speeds to anywhere that can get service from its towers.
Since traditional telecommunications generally haven’t brought physical high-speed Internet service like fiber optic to rural areas with a limited user base, mobile broadband could be a huge advance for rural residents who have been relegated to slow and spotty Internet connections for years.
DeCraene said T-Mobile is making significant upgrades to coverage in northeast Indiana. Sprint was a dominant player in mobile service in Northeast Indiana, but Sprint merged with T-Mobile in 2020 after a two-year transition process.
New towers are coming online in the coming months that will improve T-Mobile service in areas like Huntertown, LaOtto and Albion where signal is currently weak, he said.
The funds from T-Mobile will be supplemented with a matching $25,000 grant from the Don Wood Foundation, giving Kendallville a financial head start on locating and developing office space.
Co-working spaces are shared office facilities in which small business owners can pay a monthly subscription fee and get access to workspace as well as other amenities such as telephone and internet, software and printers and conference room spaces.
Co-working spaces also bring entrepreneurs into close contact with others like them and encourage new small business owners to help each other along the way to work through shared problems and concerns facing a startup.
Establishing co-working spaces in various Noble County centers is a major goal of Be Noble for its 2022-23 year.
Earlier this year, Be Noble brought the idea to Avilla as the town considered redeveloping a vacant two-story building on Albion Street near the city’s stoplight intersection, while developers in Ligonier considered the old fire station as a possible site for a co-working space there.
A specific location hasn’t been pinned down in Kendallville yet, but the co-working space will be located somewhere downtown.
“This facility, once completed, will not only help individuals by providing the tools to help start a business, but will attract new talent to downtown Kendallville,” said Tara Streb, president of Historic Downtown Kendallville and administrative assistant for Be Noble.