Full Time  |  Posted 06.30.21

Job Description:


The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (THE NIIC), a nationally-recognized business incubation accelerator located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is seeking its next President and CEO who is forward-thinking, entrepreneurial, business savvy and is an exceptional manager of people and resources.

The NIIC President and CEO will be the prime interface for entrepreneurs and will also be responsible for managing the operations, planning, marketing and development of the business/technology incubator.  In this capacity, the successful candidate will have the unique opportunity to work with entrepreneurs and investors, to identify and then launch a series of new, strategically relevant, high potential businesses.  This person must possess a passion for building new businesses, along with the curiosity, vision, optimism, empathy, and rigorous strategic mindset required to assess, shape, and support emerging startups. Previous experience as a founder and/or early-stage startup investor or advisor is desired.

This position requires a team player with leadership qualities, excellent business skills, a professional and positive attitude, good organizational skills and dependability. This is a challenging role but at the same time makes available endless opportunities for regional economic development in Northeast Indiana, the manufacturing capital of the nation.

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center

The NIIC , located on the Purdue University Fort Wayne campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures in Northeast Indiana and surrounding regions in Ohio and Michigan. Housed in a beautiful, 45,515 sq. ft multi-functional facility supporting 24 resident and/or start-up companies, the NIIC bolsters innovative companies to move ideas into action. The NIIC is located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. In April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. Additionally, the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA.org) recognized the NIIC as the 2020 Entrepreneur Center of the Year – Mixed-use, and awarded it one of the two prestigious industry awards – the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award.

499 new products launched, 196 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,351 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs achieved through the NIIC since its inception two decades ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $100.4 million in grants and capital.

Required Qualifications

  • Successful candidates will have a Master’s Degree (in business or a STEM field) and 10 years of relevant experience with running, coaching, and/or funding start-up companies, or similar entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of the start-up business lifecycle and needs.
  • Experience in the implementation of relevant programmatic support for entrepreneurs.
  • Successful track record of identifying and securing funding from various sources in the public and private sectors.
  • Proven team building and coaching skills.
  • Strong financial management skills and literacy.
  • Strong communication skills and ability to effectively utilize technology, including standard software and applications.

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience in product development, intellectual property, business, and financial planning.
  • Past involvement with business incubator or accelerator programs.
  • Experience in defense industries.
  • Demonstrated success in facilitating funding new ventures through grants, loans, angel or venture capital.
  • Experience with startup methodologies and tools.
  • A sincere interest in working with entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures.

Nominations and Applications

Interested candidates must submit a letter of interest that addresses their qualifications, vision, and entrepreneurial experience suitable for this role, as well as a current CV or résumé, and the names and contact information (email addresses and phone numbers) of three professional references. The search process will remain confidential to the extent possible. References will not be contacted without prior approval from the applicant.

For full consideration, applications should be received by July 31, 2021. The search committee will continue its work until an appointment is made. Application materials should be sent electronically to: recruitment.niic@gmail.com

Please direct nominations and other inquiries to: Ronald Elsenbaumer, search chair: Ronald.Elsenbaumer@pfw.edu or Larry Rowland, chair, board of directors: LarryRowland2@me.com .  


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