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Editorial: Fish Tank fine idea by progressive chamber

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The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce has stated that major goals this year include boosting support for small businesses while also supporting innovation and the city’s creative class — knowledge-based workers who drive the economy through sectors such as engineering, education, business, health care and the arts.

Budding business owners will be glad to know the organization is not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

The chamber is kicking off a pilot program called the Fish Tank that is intended to aid start-up companies and people who have grand ideas.

Simply, the purpose is to put people and their ideas together in a workspace — like putting everyone together in a fish tank — so they can brainstorm, build their companies and sharpen their business concepts.

It is patterned after co-working sites such as The Speak Easy in Indianapolis and Gangplank in Chandler, Ariz.

The program will be for a few hours each Wednesday at the Indiana University Center for Art and Design’s studio, 310 Jackson St. Free work space will be provided to chamber members.

The pilot program, which started this week, is exactly the type of initiative a chamber should be undertaking to support its business community and do what it can to promote job growth.

Who is to say that the next big thing won’t have its roots in the Fish Tank? Or maybe it’s several companies that spring up and hire five to 10 people each. That’s no less important.

This program is reminiscent of The Entrepreneurial Network, another offering from the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. This allows entrepreneurs to learn on the job or from other entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurial program has monthly meetings for learning opportunities and provides networking forums for people to share their ideas. On average, 40 to 50 people attend the meetings, according to the chamber.

What The Entrepreneurial Network and the Fish Tank demonstrate is that the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce is progressive, active and supportive of the local business community and those who are trying to join its ranks. That’s what you’d want and expect from a chamber.

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