The Mill and NSWC Crane join forces to spur innovation, grow regional economy

BLOOMINGTON – The Mill, a nonprofit center for entrepreneurship and coworking in Bloomington, Indiana, announces a new five-year agreement with NSWC Crane to increase access to and development of Crane’s technology, subject-matter expertise, and intellectual property (IP).

Melissa Ward

“As a center for entrepreneurship with close working relationships with Indiana University and Ivy Tech, we are ideally positioned to serve as a partnership intermediary for Crane,” said Melissa Ward, Head of Initiatives and Partnerships for The Mill. “Crane offers incredible opportunities for researchers and entrepreneurs to further explore, develop, and bring to market cutting-edge technologies. We couldn’t be more excited about connecting local innovators to those opportunities. Working together to increase tech transfer has the potential to commercialize groundbreaking IP, create high-paying jobs, and fuel our regional economy.”

Under this new agreement, The Mill will help the small companies and educational institutions it serves to take advantage of technology-related assistance from NSWC Crane. This includes the ability to license Crane IP, submit research proposals, collaborate on marketing and showcasing technology, and more. In return, NSWC Crane will collaborate, license, and/or provide access to specific intellectual property, subject matter experts, facilities, and equipment.

The new relationship formalizes and deepens existing cooperative activities between NSWC Crane and The Mill. Jenna Dix, Technology Transfer Director at NSWC Crane, currently serves on the board of directors for the Cybersecurity Exchange, a new network that The Mill launched in January 2021 to help make cybersecurity an economic driver in the region.

In addition, in June, The Mill was contracted by Radius Indiana to run the backend of their 2021 Crane IP Defense Innovation Pitch Competition. The Mill’s experience in running pitch competitions and innovation sprints creates a natural platform for connecting entrepreneurs to Crane’s technological innovations, according to Ward.

Jenna Dix

“We are proud to bring our laboratories, facilities, and technical experts into partnership with private businesses, academia, scientific establishments, and State and local governments,” Jenna Dix said in a statement. “Commercializing Navy-developed technology not only supports our forces, but also our regional economy. We look forward to working with The Mill and their partners to rapidly move innovations from the NSWC Crane patent portfolio from concept to market.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a Federal Laboratory of the U.S. Department of the Navy, providing multipurpose research and development, manufacturing technology, engineering, testing, manufacturing, and fleet support.

For more information, visit

About The Mill

The Mill is the heart of southern Indiana’s startup ecosystem and its largest coworking space. A 501(c)3 nonprofit, its mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. For more information, visit