Request for proposals

 Indianapolis Temporary Pop-up Coworking Space Consultant


The Forward Cities Community Entrepreneurship Accelerator is a two year initiative whose mission is to strengthen Indianapolis’ entrepreneurial community by working together to make it more inclusive and equitable. This includes increasing the number of small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Northwest, Near West, and Northeast Corridor (with a primary emphasis on minority owned businesses). 

Funded through a partnership by the LISC Indianapolis office, the Indy Chamber, and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and informed through a community-driven process, the above neighborhoods have been selected to pilot projects designed for small business owners that will help grow their businesses. We are seeking a Consultant with experience working with diverse entrepreneurs to help develop and implement one such pilot program.

About the Culturally-Affirming Neighborhood Coworking Space with Business Incubator

This proposed MVS will work to establish multi-week “pop-ups” of coworking spaces that have elements of support similar to what one would see in an incubator including administrative and back office support,  financial education, etc. The idea is to take this concept to multiple neighborhoods in short stints (two to six weeks depending on the number of locations). The chosen neighborhoods are: Near West (Haughville and Hawthorne), Near Northwest (Riverside), and Northeast Corridor (Meadows and Martindale Brightwood). 

The neighborhoods chosen lack access to high quality spaces that allow for both collaboration and focused learning in a socially and culturally safe environment for black and brown entrepreneurs.  By creating these in a pop-up fashion, we would initiate this level of access and determine by practices to base a more engaged approach in the future. Transportation barriers would also be minimized, and attendees would be more likely to feel a sense of welcome that would not be present in more established coworking spaces in other parts of the city.

Goals of the Program

In its pilot phase, this initiative will look to offer and likely create proximate, welcoming spaces for existing and prospective entrepreneurs to gather, work, and connect with resources that could help to advance their individual ventures. This would also present the type of enriching collaboration opportunities that coworking spaces typically foster. Ideally these engagements would help under-connected entrepreneurs gain access to these spaces, helping to build confidence and better connect their business to needed resources.

In the long-term, the hope is that these pop-up coworking spaces would spark a permanent, brick and mortar location to be established in one of our focus neighborhoods, creating sustainable investment of/access to social, intellectual, financial capital in launching and sustaining a new/ small business.

Case Manager Expectations

We are seeking a Case Manager to help develop and implement the following program components:

We are seeking a Consultant to help develop, implement, and evaluate this pilot project and then to complete a report that documents the results and makes recommendations for scaling the efforts to a full place-based program in one or more potential locations on a permanent basis.

Development Phase | Oct 21 – Dec 20 | projected 30-40 hrs

Implementation and Evaluation Phase | Jan 2 – Feb 14 | projected 20 hrs

Reporting Phase | Feb 15 – March 13 | projected 20 hrs

The Consultant will be expected to work with community partners as needed to discover and develop program components and materials.

Minimum Credentials

  • Demonstrated experience working with diverse entrepreneurs
  • Familiarity with the targeted communities
  • Experience with program design and delivery
  • Ability to work independently
  • Understanding of resources that entrepreneurs need to be successful
  • Familiarity with entrepreneurial support organizations, programs, and resources present in Indianapolis
  • Demonstrated track record of success
  • Applicants can be non-profit, for-profit, or individual consultants

Timing of Engagement

  • OCT 21: Begin developing the operational plan for the engagement, including a full scope of work:
    • thoughts on partners needed (either type or specific examples)
    • site selection assistance
    • determination of number/length of pop ups
    • consideration of upfitting concerns
    • development of programming to support
    • coordination protocol with Local Director, Kaliah Ligon
    • development of recruiting plan
    • development of participant surveys
  • NOV 15: Planned selection of final sites
  • JAN 2: Planned go live date
  • FEB 14: Last day for potential pop-up activity
  • MAR 1: Draft Report due
  • MAR 13: Final Report due


$15,000 direct fee, payable in three $5,000 installments – at the end of each phase. All project expenses will be covered separately by Forward Cities.

Proposal Guidelines

The proposal should include:

  • Qualifications of the Consultant
  • Outline of Proposed Scope of Work
  • Description of process to develop and implement a pilot program to properly house and support these coworking spaces
  • If applicable, organization description, size, and structure. Indicate whether the firm is a small, woman- and/or minority-owned business
  • A detailed budget for proposed work
  • Examples of past success working with entrepreneurs

We encourage collaborative applications between individuals and agencies. However, please designate a main point person for purposes of communication with the Forward Cities team.

Closing Submission Date

Proposals are due by October 22nd, 2019.


Inquiries concerning this RFP should be directed to Brett Brenton no later than October 18th, 2019.

Brett Brenton

Senior Director of Community Innovation

[email protected]

Conditions of Proposal 

All costs incurred in the preparation of a response to this RFP are the responsibility of the bidder and will not be reimbursed by Forward Cities or its local partners.


Submission Instructions 

Proposals should be submitted in PDF format via email to [email protected] before the closing submission date.