The headlines regarding new or expanding co-working spaces have been coming in consistently over the past few years. Our response: “Keep them coming!” The more opportunities for creative collaborations and innovative interactions, the better.

One of the more unique offerings to come on board is the Idea Co-op, powered by local utility NineStar Connect, in Hancock County. Some of the usual amenities are in play: private and open offices, conference/ideation rooms, break room, café, fitness center. A virtual reality facility and 3D printing lab offer intriguing possibilities.

But what truly sets the Idea Co-op apart is 36 acres of outdoor space, including 26 tillable acres. VanCoe Ag Technologies is one of the companies taking advantage already with plans to “demonstrate an end-to-end integrated approach with next-generation technologies for agronomy and animal production.”

John Mascoe, president and founder of VanCoe, says this is the perfect location for the “development and demonstration of innovative ag tech solutions, utility technologies and hands-on training and support that require large outdoor spaces and storage buildings.”

Jill Snyder is director of business and economic development for the new space. She touts the flexibility and the potential longer-term impacts.

“If businesses start up here in Idea Co-op and they have to graduate to the next space, we hope that people continue to look at this area of the state and will choose to start their businesses in Hancock County and (the) east central Indiana area.”

The new entity is located four miles north of Interstate 70 on State Road 9. Learn more at

Bill Waltz is vice president of taxation & public finance for the Indiana Chamber. He is also an attorney and has been with the organization for nearly 15 years.