The FOCUS Tool Box

toolboxAfter more than a decade of attracting businesses to Indy’s urban corridors and helping them succeed, LISC and partners are building upon the lessons and successes of the Fostering Commercial Urban Strategies (FOCUS) program to expand FOCUS:Works – an effort designed to support the redevelopment of targeted urban industrial districts.

With the ultimate goal of vibrant and sustainable businesses that provide jobs for neighborhood residents, FOCUS:Works aims to increase the number of businesses moving to, starting in, and expanding in urban industrial districts. Through partnerships with government, non-profit and for profit partners, FOCUS: Works addresses policy barriers, increases city-wide collaboration and focuses on targeted districts, increasing the capacity of development partners and businesses through technical assistance, access to capital and advocacy at a local level supported by the national LISC framework.

Strategies for Success

Capital & Financial Support for Business Growth

  • Align financial incentives for businesses to expand in or relocate to urban industrial districts
  • Improve access to business capital
  • Develop anchor institution supply chain opportunities
  • Assist and contract with VBE, MBE, DBE or WBE businesses
  • Increase training and support for businesses and entrepreneurs

Connecting Businesses to a Prepared Resident Workforce

  • Increase job pipeline referrals and meet employer workforce demand
  • Align with appropriate economic clusters such as B2B, food manufacturing and tech
  • Develop and align training programs and supplies

Building Neighborhood Infrastructure to Grow Businesses

  • Identify and ignite redevelopment of targeted sites
  • Improve infrastructure including roads and utilities
  • Remediate and redevelop brownfields
  • Develop brand identity to market districts

FOCUS Works Toolbox:

LISC and its local and national partners have contributed to a number of case studies, articles and redevelopment plans that capture and provide a framework for the revitalization of commercial and industrial corridors.

Prototyping Equity: Indianapolis City Snapshot, a report from the Equitable Innovation Economies Initiative of the Pratt Center for Community Development

The Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) is a national community of practice dedicated to exploring land use policy, local branding, workforce development and equity & inclusion as related to urban manufacturing. Indianapolis LISC and its partners have been engaged with the UMA since 2014.

Lessons from Indianapolis, Somerville, Nashville: How to Retain Maker and Manufacturer Industrustries through Creative Zoning Tools

 Toolkit: Industrial Real Estate Best Practices

Toolkit: Non-profit Real Estate Development – “Reclaiming legacy industrial buildings demands a mission-driven commitment”

The City of Indianapolis selected Recast City LLC to lead a three-day workshop on local maker industries and manufacturing leadership in 2015. This memo is a summary of the workshop, including all interviews conducted onsite, and a short list of recommendations to uncover the existing businesses in the production economy, expand participation in the sector, identify local leaders for the efforts, and bring its energy into redevelopment opportunities in the city.