January 15th, 2013

The Building Blocks of a City – Entrepreneurs

by cgindy


Ever had an idea that seemed so crazy that it kept you up at night? In fact, it bugged you so much that you had no choice but to do something about it?

Let me introduce you to Dreamapolis, a local organization that helps people turn those “far-fetched” dreams into a reality.  Started by two individuals with a passion for Indianapolis and social entrepreneurship, Dreamapolis connects individuals and their ideas with the resources they may need for success.

We believe that civic engagement is one of the fundamental virtues that help communities thrive and prosper. For us, civic engagement manifests itself through a creative investment in the city.  It harnesses the potential of people who are emotionally connected to the urban core.

These creative entrepreneurs – people that start business or other creative ventures – are the lifeline of the Central Indiana economy. However, between 2000-2009, more than 86,000 residents moved from Marion County.  This can have a draining effect on the urban core of both its talent and tax base.  However, it’s obvious with organizations like the City Gallery and Dreamapolis there is an active engagement to connect residents of the urban core.  The question is how can we hope to attract, or retain the minds looking for such opportunities.

Dreamapolis addresses this obstacle by engaging Indianapolis’ residents through pressing social issues such as environmental sustainability, poverty, education and talent retention in the form of entrepreneurship.  Dreamapolis challenges individuals to consider social issues by asking them to build with their imagination and creativity to make a difference in Indianapolis.   Entrepreneurship contributes to the building of a city.

To date, Dreamapolis has offered 16 scheduled workshops that provided 237 urban entrepreneurs with key opportunities to learn, network and interface with one another.  In addition, we have also worked at two summer camps, helping fifty youth understand business and financial literacy.  Furthermore, we have created Indianapolis’ first micro-granting dinner PitchFeast, awarding $875 in cash prizes for two innovative ideas.


Picture from PitchFeast

In 2013, we are launching a two programs.  First, is our bi-annual business accelerator.  This will build five tech businesses in 12-weeks.  The second is our not-for-profit Young Dreamers program.  Young Dreamers promotes youth entrepreneurship through a four-year, hands-on business training and college preparation program that makes school engaging.

Dreamapolis’ approach to economic development opens doors for job creation while also providing enhanced economic health within disadvantaged and under-served communities of Indianapolis.

Much like how the City Gallery is a hub that brings people together in the city, entrepreneurs in similar way are doing just that.  New businesses, whether retail or food, bring people together either in the form of a meeting place or through a job.  They are a stimulus for the economy and Dreamapolis provides opportunities to turn itching ideas into reality.  The result is city growth.

Join Dreamapolis Monday, January 28th for the year’s first PitchFeast.  Held at the Platform, PitchFeast is Indianapolis’ first micro-granting dinner project.   Come and see what Indianapolis’ entrepreneurs are up to and become a participant in their journey.

Derrick Braziel, Co-Founder of Dreamapolis
Derrick is a young, creative entrepreneur who is committed to the
idea that all it takes to change the world is “a dollar and a dream.”